The National Motorsports Appeals Panel has upheld the behavioral penalty levied against Denny Hamlin for his last-lap incident with Ross Chastain at Phoenix Raceway.
NASCAR fined Hamlin $50,000 and docked him 25 points.
Hamlin admitted a day after the race on his “Actions Detrimental” podcast that he took Chastain with him as he fell through the field, squeezing the Trackhouse Racing driver into the wall on the last lap at Phoenix. Hamlin was on older tires going into the overtime restart, and once the Joe Gibbs Racing realized he was going to fall through the field, decided Chastain, who was on his outside, could be taken advantage of as the two have had issues in the past.
“I’ve said for a while you’ve got to do something to get these guys’ attention,” said Hamlin. “Ross doesn’t like it when I speak his name in the media and when I have this microphone. But I told him, ‘Well, I have a microphone, and I’m going to call it like I see it, and until you get a microphone, you can then say whatever you want about me.’
“But the fact is, while I’m sitting here talking, I’m going to call things the way I see it, and sometimes I’m going to have to call myself out, which I’m the (expletive) who lost just as many spots as he did. But at the time, I said, well, I’m going to finish (expletive) anyway, and I’m just going to make sure he finishes (expletive) right here with me.”
Hamlin was penalized under section 4.4 of the NASCAR rule book. Infractions covered in that section include attempting to manipulate the outcome of a race and actions detrimental to the sport.
Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, said officials initially viewed the contact as a racing incident. But Hamlin’s comments prompted a review.
“The way we look at these situations, they are all individual and unique to themselves,” Sawyer said. “When you look at this one this past weekend, we would have viewed that as a racing incident, but then 24 hours later have a competitor that has gone on a podcast — which I will say, we’re delighted Denny has a podcast. We think that’s great; he interacts with the fans. But when you start admitting you have intentionally done something that would comprise the result of the end of the race, then that rises to the level that we’re going to get involved. There’s no other way to look at that. We’re going to get involved in those situations. We’ve been consistent in the past with that, and we will be consistent going forward.”