Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images via NASCAR

Hamlin: Bowman ‘an Absolute Hack’ for Late Race Spin at Martinsville

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

Denny Hamlin may be moving on to the Championship 4 to fight for a NASCAR Cup Series championship next week, but after Sunday’s race at Martinsville, it’s clear his focus is currently on Alex Bowman and the late race contact between the two.

As the two drivers battled for the lead with less than 10 laps to go, Bowman got into Turn 3 too hot, moving up the track into Hamlin’s left-rear quarter panel, sending him for a spin into the outside wall.

While Hamlin was able to get his No. 11 Toyota gathered back up, the lost track position dropped him outside the top-20, erasing a double-digit points advantage over the cut-off line. Bowman went on to hold off a challenge from Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski to win the race in overtime.

Despite the setback, Hamlin finished the race in 24th with enough points to advance on to the Championship 4, but after the contact from Bowman, Hamlin was dead set on giving him a piece of his mind.

As Bowman was set to celebrate on the frontstretch, Hamlin sped up beside Bowman’s car slamming on the brakes to stop beside him before nosing into the front of his car when Bowman spun around to start his burnout, letting his feelings be known with a double-bird salute directed at Bowman.

Amid radio transmissions from his team to take it easy, Hamlin finally relented and pulled away, but was still fuming about it after climbing from his car on pit road.

“He’s just a hack,” Hamlin said. “Just an absolute hack. He gets his ass kicked by his teammates every week. He’s (expletive) terrible. He’s just terrible. He sees one opportunity, he takes it.

“Obviously, he’s got the fastest car of the week and he runs 10th. He didn’t want to race us there. We had a good, clean race. I moved up as high as I could on the racetrack to give him all the room I could, he still can’t drive.

“We got in, did what we had to do. I just wanted to race there at the end. He’s just terrible.”

Bowman acknowledged afterwards that the contact between himself and Hamlin was not intentional, just a byproduct of the close quarters racing at a track like Martinsville.

“I just got loose underneath,” Bowman said. “I’m not trying to drive underneath there and crash the guy. I got under him fair, under him clean. I just got sideways underneath him, spun him out. Hate to do that. Obviously unintentional. Part of short-track racing.”

He added that there was no sense in pushing back when Hamlin interrupted his post-race celebration, comparing the scene to something seen in lower-level racing at Bowman-Gray Stadium.

“Have you ever been to Bowman Gray Stadium? I’ve gone there and watched. That’s what it felt like,” Bowman described. “When they had that TV show with the mods running there, I watched the heck out of that. It was really entertaining then. Not so entertaining when you’re living it.

“Just didn’t want to be a part of that, make us both look dumb. So, I just tried to not be a part of it. I wasn’t going to try to do stuff like that. That’s not who I am.

“I understand why he’s mad. I’d be mad, too. I drove off into the corner, got loose, spun him out. At the same time, I didn’t do it on purpose. If I did, I’d tell you. That’s part of it.”

Tags : , , , , ,

David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.