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Hamlin: driver code ‘more compromised than ever’ with Kenseth suspension

Denny Hamlin is not happy with NASCAR’s two-race suspension of Matt Kenseth for intentionally wrecking Joey Logano.

But Hamlin also is “more confused” than he was before the punishment was handed down Tuesday to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate.

Minutes after tweeting his displeasure at the news, Hamlin called into Fox Sports 1’s “NASCAR Race Hub” to expound on his thoughts. That included saying Kenseth was enforcing the unspoken driver’s code, which now is “more compromised than ever” in the wake of the suspension.

“Any race car driver that’s been doing this long enough understands what driver code is. I feel like the driver code that’s been established since racing ever begun, a hundred years ago, that driver code is more compromised than ever,” Hamlin said. “NASCAR has said in years past and they even said this year, they like the drivers to police themselves.”

Hamlin believes that Kenseth, who has been his teammate at JGR since 2013, was policing himself and the driver’s code when he crashed Logano into the Turn 1 wall at Martinsville two weeks after Logano spun him in the closing laps at Kansas Speedway while racing for the lead.

“When someone does you wrong, they have an opportunity to defuse the situation by a phone call or talking to you after the race,” Hamlin says. “Anything like that, or talking through the media. Say they made a mistake. I feel like none of that happened, and instead it was kind of like ‘sorry, sorry about your (bad) luck, you’re going to have to deal with it and this is how I’m handling it.’”

Both Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon have said Logano could have handled the Kansas outcome better to defuse any potential retaliation.

Hamlin also said the rules created by NASCAR are sometimes “gray and we don’t know what the penalties are each week, I think it’s kind of more in that line right now.”

Hamlin went on to say he believes NASCAR is influenced too much by what is said in the media.

“Everyone’s trying to do their job, but when the media demands some kind of suspension I think they (NASCAR) adhere to that sometimes,” Hamlin said. “Drivers I think had a very different opinion of this weekend than what media did. It sucks, sometimes I feel like they’re strongly influenced by fans and the media vs. doing what sometimes is the right thing.”

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