Denny Hamlin recovered from an early spin to finish a solid third in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway.
But a week after getting knocked out of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in a multi-car crash not of his own making at Talladega, Hamlin was hardly in a celebratory mood.
In speaking with FOXSports.com moments after Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver criticized NASCAR for not doing a better job of policing the competition with so much at stake at such a pivotal point in the season.
Article continues below ...
"It’s just disappointing — especially when you see everything that’s going on right now. It’s like the Wild Wild West," said Hamlin, who after last weekend’s elimination race accused Kevin Harvick of deliberately causing a late wreck that preserved his championship hopes but ruined Hamlin’s.
Hamlin’s comments after Sunday’s race came just five days after the sanctioning body issued a statement saying it wouldn’t penalize Harvick for triggering the multi-car crash that many fans and multiple drivers — including Hamlin — saw as an attempt to alter the outcome of the race by bringing out a caution when his engine was going sour.
Then, late in Sunday’s race at Martinsville, Hamlin’s teammate, Matt Kenseth — one of the drivers knocked out of the Chase along with Hamlin at Talladega — wrecked leader Joey Logano, a Chase driver, with a move that by all appearances was retaliation for Logano booting Kenseth out of the way two weekends ago in Kansas.
Hamlin, for his part, is fed up with the aggression, and hopes that NASCAR will get the drivers under control.
"It’s like there are no rules anymore, and we don’t have any adult figure up in the stairs to say, ‘No, don’t do that anymore,’" Hamlin told FOXSports.com. "It looks like it’s just going to be every man or woman for themselves, and it’s going to be whoever doesn’t wreck in this Chase, I guess, who is going to win the championship."