NASCAR: Denny Hamlin Thinks Recently Announced Le Mans Plans Will Give Hendrick Motorsports an Advantage

by Jonathan Howard
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin isn’t too happy with the Le Mans news. NASCAR is back at the 24-hour race, but not everyone. The league made the announcement that it was putting a stock car in the historic race. Their plans include working alongside Hendrick Motorsports… and only Hendrick Motorsports. That’s part of the reason why Hamlin isn’t too happy about the development.

There were other issues that the 23XI Racing team co-owner had with the announcement. Like the fact he found out through the media as most everyone else did.

Stock Cars Return to Le Mans

  • NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin is not happy with the plans for Le Mans
  • Hendrick Motorsports will partner with NASCAR and Chevy in the 24-hour race
  • 1976 was the last time that NASCAR raced in Le Mans the Dodge Charger and Ford Torino failed to finish
  • Hamlin believes this project will give Hendrick an unfair advantage

“Finding out through a press conference is not OK,” Hamlin said. “We have too many people in place, NASCAR has too many executives for that to have slipped through the cracks. Not that it slipped through the cracks, but like, where’s the transparency of it?”

This is going to be an experiment above all else. Hendrick Motorsports will be working hands-on with the Next Gen car that is put into Le Mans. So, it makes sense that they will learn things about the car. Other teams will not get to have that same experience. Neither will other manufacturers.

“This is kind of them [NASCAR and Hendrick] doing their thing and what they want to do, and I understand their reasoning to want to do it,” Denny Hamlin said about the Le Mans issue. I just thought (from) a team owner standpoint, I’m concerned about how is it not an advantage? You cannot convince me right now that it won’t be.”

NASCAR: Denny Hamlin Doesn’t Like Le Mans Plans, President Phelps Sees Opportunity

The one thing that NASCAR President Steve Phelps wants to do is spread the sport to places it hasn’t spread to yet. Growing the sport is the top priority and that’s what the Le Mans project is going to help accomplish.

“We know there’s some enthusiasm for NASCAR [in Europe], you know, stock car racing. But this is going to take it to a new level, right?

“And we’re excited to partner with Rick Hendrick and his organization in Chevy and Goodyear,” Phelps continued. “And to come back to Le Mans.” It is clear why NASCAR would want to do this, but that doesn’t mean some won’t feel some type of way about it.

Maybe in 2023, we can see Ford and Toyota getting involved as well in the Le Mans race. It would be great to test these Next Gen cars against each other in an endurance race like that in addition to the other amazing cars that race there every year.