Sunday saw insult added to injury for NASCAR Cup Series contender Denny Hamlin. He nearly took home the Verizon 200 overtime win at the Brickyard before making contact with Chase Briscoe. The bump saw Hamlin’s #11 Toyota spin out of control, leaving the track behind for a patch of grass. Turned around, Hamlin suddenly had a front-row seat to a race he could have won.
If the unfortunate finish wasn’t enough, Hamlin talked about how bad he thought the decision to change the iconic Brickyard oval into a road course was ahead of the race.
“We lost a crown jewel. People hated the racing, but I don’t know, are they really going to get more people out to the road course than what they did for the Brickyard 400? I’m not sure. I don’t love it — I don’t love the move. It took away a crown jewel,” Hamlin said.
At NASCAR speeds, a tiny nudge can send a car careening out of control. Fortunately, Hamlin was able to avoid a complete wreck. He came to a stop just off the track to the left. Hamlin’s Toyota was in good enough shape to finish in 23rd place. Though, he wasn’t particularly pleased with the incident and his resulting finish.
NASCAR Driver Denny Hamlin Shares Thoughts About Collision with Chase Briscoe
“I mean, I agree, it’s not on purpose. But my team told me he had a penalty right away. And to me, it’s obvious, if you cut the racetrack and end up in the lead, you’re going to have a penalty. So, lack of awareness,” Hamlin said. “So, I don’t think he did it maliciously. I’ve raced with him for a year now and, you know, he’s not that kind of person. It’s just bad judgment.”
The incident came about as a result of Chase Briscoe himself getting pushed off of the track. He then cut the corner to rejoin the field, earning himself a penalty. To improve his position, he ended up bumping Hamlin in the process of making his pass. In his defense, he apparently wasn’t even aware that he had been penalized.
“I didn’t even know we had a penalty until we got to turn ten. I get why he’s upset, but Denny’s been in my situation. I’m sorry it ruined his day but I didn’t know I had a penalty. If I had known I never would have tried to make that pass,” Briscoe said following the race.
The Verizon 200 finish comes as an extremely tough loss for Hamlin, who was in a position to secure some serious points in the NASCAR Cup Series. Instead, a third-place finish from Kyle Larson secures his own first-place position on the leaderboard.