NASCAR: Denny Hamlin reacts to crew members suspension


Denny Hamlin (11) earlier than a NASCAR Xfinity Collection auto race at Dover Motor Speedway, Saturday, April 30, 2022, in Dover, Del.

AP Photograph/Jason Minto

Denny Hamlin has his common crew members with him this weekend at Darlington Raceway, nevertheless it’s not clear how lengthy that can final.

On Wednesday, NASCAR introduced that 4 of Hamlin’s crew members at Joe Gibbs Racing — together with crew chief Chris Gabehart — can be suspended 4 races for violating Section of the NASCAR rule book, which deals with the separation of an improperly installed wheel.

At Monday’s rain-delayed end at Dover Speedway, the front-left tire got here off Hamlin’s automobile within the seconds after a pit cease. Joe Gibbs Racing is interesting the suspension, so the crew members are allowed to be on the monitor till the enchantment is dominated upon.

“There is nothing that our changers could have done differently. If the nut falls out, I don’t know how we control that,” Hamlin mentioned Saturday. “You never know how it all turns out, but certainly they are making their case. But yeah, it is important to have your guys here.”

It wasn’t instantly identified how shortly a call on the enchantment can be made.

In 2016, NASCAR started cracking down on groups for having unfastened lug nuts and carried out a one-race suspension for crews after Tony Stewart mentioned NASCAR was lax on security. The penalty finally elevated to 4 races for crew chiefs and crew members.

Previous to this yr, there have been 5 lug nuts that went on every wheel. However with the brand new Subsequent Gen automobile, which made its debut this season, every wheel has one lug nut.

Hamlin and another drivers, together with Bubba Wallace, assume NASCAR ought to rethink severity of the penalty.

“We change a lot of rules to keep up with the times. Again, this isn’t our equipment. Four races is steep,” Hamlin mentioned. “I wish Tony Stewart would go back in time and say I’m sorry for making such a big deal about loose wheels. I’m not trying to undersell it. But the penalty is dramatic for the team before you levy all this other stuff. You can’t race with a loose wheel. With five nuts, you could kind of limp around and have a warning. Now with just one nut, they just fall off.”

The lug nut and tire difficulty was the newest bother for Hamlin’s season. He was twenty third in factors coming into Sunday’s Cookout 400 at Darlington. He does have a win to his credit score, which qualifies him for the NASCAR playoffs, nevertheless it’s been something however a straightforward season for the Virginia native.

“It has been frustrating. It has been week after week of being the coyote that gets the anvil dropped on us,” Hamlin mentioned, referencing the “Looney Tunes” cartoon characters. “Been lot of things that have kept our results from being what they should.”

This story was initially printed Might 7, 2022 11:16 AM.

Lou Bezjak is the Excessive College Sports activities Prep Coordinator for The (Columbia) State and (Hilton Head) Island Packet. He beforehand labored on the Florence Morning Information and had lined highschool sports activities in South Carolina since 2002. Lou is a two-time South Carolina Sports activities Author of the Yr by the Nationwide Sports activities Media Affiliation.
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