NASCAR’s Denny Hamlin Comments on Being Disqualified Following Pocono Race

by Nick Geddes

NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin had yet to say much since being disqualified after finishing first in the M&M’s Fan Appreciation 400 at Pocono Raceway last Sunday.

Ahead of this Sunday’s race in the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard, however, Hamlin took time to comment on NASCAR’s decision to strip him of the victory. Per Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports, Hamlin said Saturday that while he understands why NASCAR made the decision, he hopes it stays consistent across the board.

“Was I wronged? I mean, I don’t know. I drove the car, I think it was a shock to all of us for sure,” Hamlin said. “Something that hadn’t been done in 6o something years, for sure I thought we had one of those Richard Petty big engines in the car something.

“But not this time, it was a piece of tape and they’re pretty consistent that that’s the way they want it starting with this new car. I just hope that it’s consistent for everybody no matter who wins the race.”

Denny Hamlin Became the 1st Driver in 62 Years to Be Stripped of a Victory

Hamlin’s disqualification was a historic one. He’s the first driver to be stripped of a victory in NASCAR since Emanuel Zervakis in 1960. He’s no longer the all-time wins leader at Pocono with seven. No longer tied with Cup Series great Tony Stewart with 49 career wins. Instead, Hamlin is the answer to a trivia question in the future.

All because, as Hamlin said, a piece of tape was in the wrong place. NASCAR managing director Brad Moran did his best to describe the issue, saying it affected the aerodynamics of Hamlin’s No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry.

“We were doing our post-race inspections,” Moran said last Sunday. “There were some issues discovered that affect [the aerodynamics] of the vehicle. The part was the front facia, and there really was no reason why there was some material somewhere where it shouldn’t have been and that basically comes down to a DQ.

“It is a penalty both first 11 of Denny Hamlin and 18 of Kyle Busch have been DQ’d. Their vehicles are being loaded into a NASCAR hauler, they’re going to be taken to the R&D Center. The final results have been changed to show that the two DQs were there. They have the opportunity to appeal it, and it’ll be all sorted out by next week.”

Joe Gibbs Racing and Denny Hamlin are Moving Forward

Joe Gibbs Racing had the opportunity to appeal, but chose not to. Kyle Busch, who finished second, was also disqualified, meaning that third-place finisher Chase Elliott was awarded the victory. Elliott may very well get the Pocono trophy eventually, but as for the checkered flag? That’s between Elliott and Hamlin’s daughter, Taylor.

“The trophy is here in Indianapolis,” Hamlin said. “… I told Chase and we had some good texts back-and-forth, I said ‘the trophy’s yours, you’re going to have to fight Taylor for the flag.'”