Jeff Meyer · Friday March 8, 2013
Yeah, yeah, I know he didn’t quite put it in those words but he might as well have!
In case you have no idea what I am talking about, and unfortunately there are some out there who fall into that category, the big story this week, besides the not unsurprising whining by Jimmie Johnson over a restart, is that NASCAR is fining Denny Hamlin 25 grand for providing firsthand feedback on Brian France’s latest toy, the “Gen-6” car. Hamlin has said that he refuses to pay the fine.
It’s hard to know for sure just what it is that pissed NASCAR off because they are acting exactly like your wife… I mean, significant other… when you ask her, I mean them, what is wrong and she… dang! … I mean, they won’t tell you! Anyway, as far as we can tell, Hamlin’s offending comment on NASCAR’s new chassis read as follows…
“We learned a lot. I don’t want to be the pessimist, but it did not race as good as our generation five cars. This is more like what the generation five was at the beginning. The teams hadn’t figured out how to get the aero balance right. Right now, you just run single-file and you cannot get around the guy in front of you. You would have placed me in 20th with 30 to go, I would have stayed there — I wouldn’t have moved up. It’s just one of those things where track position is everything.”
Personally, I think someone was walking by his motorcoach, heard him tell his significant other that the reason he didn’t win is because “the new car is a piece of s*#t and it sucks out loud!” then promptly reported him to the nearest NASCAR Nazi, who in turn ran straight to Adolf France, who in turn ran sobbing to Robin Pemberton and ordered him to have Hamlin immediately arrested, interrogated (painfully) and then shot. No, no, I mean arrested, interrogated (painfully), fined, and then shot.
NASCAR, of course, is not admitting to the arrest, interrogation and execution part. But here’s what they did say.
“Following the Sprint Cup Series event last Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, Denny Hamlin made some disparaging remarks about the on-track racing that had taken place that afternoon. While NASCAR gives its competitors ample leeway in voicing their opinions when it comes to a wide range of aspects about the sport, the sanctioning body will not tolerate publicly made comments by its drivers that denigrate the racing product.”
In defense of NASCAR, they have already made clear this year that free speech is not to be tolerated when they indefinitely suspended Nationwide Series driver, Jeremy Clements, for supposedly using the dreaded “N” word during an off the record conversation with a supposed media member.
(Side bar and passing thought) Is it racist of me to use a capital “N” when referring to it or is it a sign of respect? I would think it would be offensive to use a lower case “n,” seeing as how it is about the most heinous thing a white person could possibly utter, so it seems these days. Just something to think about. (End of side bar!)
It is amazing to me how stupid the leadership of NASCAR is and/or can be. Just when you think things might be getting better and we are finally getting back to the “roots” of this sport, what with the new “look like the street version car” and all, plus the “winning the core fan back” initiative, they go and make a decision like this one.
When it comes to the Gen Six car, which as I predicted and Denny seems to agree is more aptly the “Gen Sux” car, NASCAR has said all along that it is a work in progress. So what better feedback can you get then from the men who race it? They sure aren’t going to listen to the fans. NASCAR should take the time to listen to Denny and others who actually drive the machine they have created. You can bet your (insert body part of your choice here) France, Helton or Pemberton aren’t going to risk their (again, the body part bit here) trying it out!
I know that I have been hard on Hamlin in the past for seeing a “sports psychologist” about his inability to win enough. But in this case, I firmly stand behind him and his decision to not pay this stupid fine.
“Ultimately, I’m not OK with it,” Hamlin said of the penalty. “This is the most upset and angry I’ve been about anything in a really, really long time, anything that relates to NASCAR … the truth is what the truth is and I don’t believe in this, I’m never going to believe in it. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to pay the fine. If they suspend me, they suspend me. I don’t care at this point.”
Hamlin followed up those comments with a Thursday evening series of Tweets which said the following…
The short of the long of it is I believe I was severely disrespected by NASCAR by getting fined. I believe that the simple fact of us not even having a conversation about this issue before I was hit with a fine has something to say about our relationship. What I said was 1 sentence taken completely out of context. Most drivers will tell you that we constantly have our AND NASCAR’s best interest in mind when speaking. On the other hand, I am a person that worked very hard from the BOTTOM to get where I am today and someone telling me that I can[‘t] give my 100 percent honest opinion really bothers me. Since being fined in 2010, I have been a lot more careful about what I say to media and I felt this past weekend felt completely in my rights to give an assessment of the question asked. I feel as if today, NASCAR lost one of its biggest supporters vocally of where our sport is headed. So in the end, there are no winners. I said today I would not pay the fine. I stand by that and will go through the process of appealing. Trust me, this is not about the money.. It’s much deeper. I will now shift my focus on giving FedEx and my team what they deserve this weekend, a win.
In the end, if Denny is forced to pay the fine, I, for one, would be glad to pitch in to defray the cost, as long as I get to tell NASCAR exactly where they can stick it… in their end!
Stay off the wall (but maybe peek over it to see if anyone is eavesdropping on you!),
P.S. – On a side note, just to get it off my chest and let my readers know exactly where I stand on the brewing storm of the NRA sponsoring the upcoming Texas race and then say no more about it. I own guns, I reload my own ammo and I 99% of the time support the NRA! If you don’t like it, that’s your choice. I don’t care if you do or not. At least I’m honest.
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