Photo: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Rest Easy Conspiracy Theorists, Hamlin Didn’t Let Stewart Win

By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor

Is there a sport filled with more conspiracy theories than NASCAR? In a sport where life and death are merely inches apart, many people still believe that drivers would be willing to fix outcomes of events, just because.

After Denny Hamlin nudged past Tony Stewart for the lead in turn seven on the final lap this past week in Sonoma, then went wide left in the final hair-pin turn, which gave Stewart plenty of room to force his car to the inside for the win, conspiracy theorists immediately cried afoul.

In Daytona on Thursday, Hamlin addressed the topic of whether he let Stewart win in Sonoma.

“I didn’t let Tony (Stewart) win,” Hamlin stated emphatically.

Hamlin would then admit that lack of experience in the lead at road courses, is what ultimately lost him the race.

“In my defense, which I should still not mistakes, is that I’ve never been in that position before. I’ve not been that competitive on road courses and so I didn’t know the proper defensive move going into that last corner,” said Hamlin. “I’d love to have that situation back again, but I really just didn’t know the proper move. I thought I had two car lengths. Looking back at the video, I probably had three and that’s kind of the point where you can just run your own corner and maybe be okay, but I knew he was going to throw caution to the wind and I just – I literally looked up and went to my same braking point and I wheel hopped again and like it was just anomaly.”

There you have it. The guy who gets paid millions of dollars per year to drive didn’t just pull over and let the other guy who gets paid millions of dollars per year to drive pass him. And why? Maybe because the whole basis of Hamlin earning millions of dollars per year is by getting his sponsor’s logos in victory lane.

As fun as conspiracy theories can be, lets just lay them to rest folks when it pertains to NASCAR folks.

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Toby Christie is a contributing writer for Motorsports Tribune. He has been watching stock cars turn left since 1993, and has covered NASCAR as an accredited media member since 2007. Toby is a proud member of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA). Additionally, Toby is a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan, sub-par guitarist and he is pretty good around a mini-golf course.

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