While the first 300 laps at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday (March 12) were not exactly edge of your seat viewing, the final few were pivotal and ultimately caused some waves only four races into the regular season. Last year two drivers always seemed to find each other on the racetrack — and this weekend they just so happened to find themselves in close quarters again.
While it appeared to be nothing of substance, Denny Hamlin’s confirmation of intent on his Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin podcast became detrimental to his season after being issued a 25-point fine and $50,000 by NASCAR on Wednesday. With this recent installment of Denny & Ross, was Hamlin justified in his brazen intent to wreck Ross Chastain, or did his blunt honesty force NASCAR to take action? This week in 2-Headed Monster, Vito Pugliese and Stephen Stumpf dig into the incident.
Pulling the Chain on Chastain
If there’s one prevailing trend among young drivers on social media these days, it is to shamelessly record yourself breaking the law, then essentially bragging about it, cementing your legacy in perpetuity by preserving it in a digital format for all to see. In Denny Hamlin’s case, his urge to drive downloads of his podcast Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin had him airing a taped confession to what was at best a civil infraction — but now is a felony with a loss of 25 points and $50,000 for intentionally plowing into his arch nemesis Chastain.
To quote comedian Chris Rock, “I’m not saying it’s right … but I understand.”
Last season was Chastain’s coming out party, winning two races for a newly formed team, making it to the Championship 4 in the playoffs and creating one of the most iconic moments in motorsports history with the “Hail Melon” move at Martinsville Speedway. Along the way, he also became a magnet for controversy, particularly with the consistent contact he seemed to make with the No. 11 of Hamlin. While Hamlin did make a point with Chastain at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway last summer, it wasn’t exactly Carl Edwards sending Brad Keselowski skyward or Jeff Gordon turning right in the middle of the fourth turn at Phoenix Raceway, pinning Clint Bowyer against the wall.
If anything, the inaction seemed kind of lame, and Chastain continued his melon may care attitude at multiple times with drivers other than Hamlin.
On the final lap this weekend, Hamlin appeared to be in a bad position with both…
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