NASCAR appeals panel upholds Denny Hamlin penalties
A NASCAR appeals panel Thursday upheld penalties issued recently to driver Denny Hamlin.
NASCAR fined Hamlin $50,000 and 25 points after he admitted on his weekly podcast that he intentionally wrecked Ross Chastain on the last lap of this year’s Phoenix race. The panel heard testimony Thursday concerning Hamlin’s appeal and decided to leave the penalties in place.
Hamlin can appeal that decisionito the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer.
The appeals panel was made up of former television executive Hunter Nickell, track operator Dale Pinilis and former driver Lyn St. James.
The penalty resulted from Hamlin violating section 4.4.B of the Cup Rule Book. Among the violations listed are:
- Attempting to manipulate the outcome of the Race of championship.
- Wrecking or spinning another vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is removed from Competition as a result.
NASCAR also cited Hamlin with violating section 4.4.D, which includes:
- Actions by a NASCAR Member that NASCAR finds to be detrimental to stock car racing or NASCAR.
Although Hamlin initially said he would not appeal the penalties, he changed his mind later, saying on social media that the encounter with Chastain “was common hard racing that happens each and every weekend. There was also no manipulation of the race nor actions detrimental to the sport.”
On his podcast, Hamlin said the contact with Chastain “wasn’t a mistake. No, it wasn’t a mistake. I let the wheel go, and I said he’s coming with me.”
Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, said Hamlin’s admission that he wrecked Chastain intentionally led to the penalties.