Denny Hamlin Heated After Dump from Chase Briscoe

NASCAR NASCAR Cup Series
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By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer

The final 10 laps of Sunday’s Verizon 200 at the Brickyard saw wild action and plenty of contact… particularly between Denny Hamlin and Chase Briscoe.

Restarting alongside leader Hamlin on the race’s final overtime restart, Briscoe’s No. 14 Ford was forced off-track exiting Turn 1. The contact forced Briscoe to cut the course, leading to a penalty from NASCAR officials.

However, without knowledge of the penalty, Briscoe continued to race for the win, making contact and spinning Hamlin later in the lap. Later serving his penalty in Turn 10, Briscoe was immediately apologetic of the contact with Hamlin.

“I’m sorry that it ruined his day, that was never my intention,” Briscoe said. “If I knew I had a penalty, I would have never tried to pass him there. At that moment in time, I was going for the win. That’s what I’m paid to do and that’s what I was trying to do.”

Hamlin approached Briscoe post-race to discuss the incident, asking the rookie why he chose to race despite the penalty.

“I agree that it wasn’t on purpose. But my team told me that they had a penalty right away,” Hamlin said. “To me, it’s obvious that if you cut the track and you end up in the lead, you’re gonna have a penalty. Lack of awareness and I just told him, ‘Race me for a lap.’ He run right in the back of me, how are you — you can’t race that way.

“I don’t think he did it maliciously, I’ve raced him for a year now and he’s not that kind of person. But it was just bad judgement.”

Racing Hamlin through 2/3rds of the 2021 campaign, Briscoe was not surprised to see Hamlin’s emotion.

“Obviously, he’s upset. I would have been, too,” Briscoe said. “He just came [to me] and asked what I was doing. I don’t think he realizes that I didn’t know I had a penalty until he got to Turn 10. I asked my spotter after the race and I didn’t ever hear.

“I was asking him which corner was Turn 10 and I just tried stopping down there [final corner] because I didn’t know if it would make up for it or not.”

With Hamlin only managing 23rd at the line, Briscoe finished 26th, a far reach from what was a potential first career Cup Series victory.

“Denny has been in my situation where you’re trying to go for your first win,” he said. “He asked why I didn’t wait. Well, I felt that was my best opportunity to win the race. I knew AJ [Allmendinger] was going to be quick either way and I had older tires so I had to get going while I could.”

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