The Frontstretch: Voices From The Cheap Seats: NASCAR Told To Kiss Hamlin’s Posterior by Jeff Meyer -- Friday March 8, 2013

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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.”

Jeff Meyer is willing to pitch in if Denny Hamlin is eventually forced to pay his fine, but he completely agrees with Hamlin that the whole thing is ridiculous.

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!),

Jeff Meyer

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.

Contact Jeff Meyer

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Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


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Steve K
03/08/2013 12:41 AM

You are 100% correct on this Jeff (and Denny). NASCAR is behaving like the Stalin’s secret police. This also makes me think the Gen 6 problems are even worse than I first thought.

Amazing to think the IndyCar brain trust which cannot do anything right nailed the DW12 while NASCAR has whiffed two times in a row on new cars. Now what Mr. Helton?

03/08/2013 07:09 AM

Heavy handed action by Nascar to put it mildly; I hope Hamlin stands his ground but I fear he will be forced to recant his remarks by the KGB, woops, I mean Nascar.

Bill B
03/08/2013 07:59 AM

This is ridiculous. All Hamlin did was point out the obvious. It is a new car. It is a work in progress. It won’t race as good as the previous car until teams have time to work with it. These are all obvious observations. Ones that many in the media and NASCAR have pointed out previously.
I am not a Hamlin fan but I thought his statement was diplomatic and honest without being mean-spirited.

Is it time for fans to boycott watching a couple of races to send NASCAR a message?

Bill B
03/08/2013 08:02 AM

Maybe the California race. Most fans wouldn’t need much incentive to boycott that one.

03/08/2013 08:07 AM

Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski have had their adverse moments on the track. But one thing they both share is the ability to “Just Tell It As It Is”. I admire them both for that. Both men are leaders NOT followers. Now I learn that Denny Hamlin has been fined 25K for his comments concerning the Gen-6 car after Phoenix.. Slam The Product??? NASCAR’s arrogance could not be more profound.

If NASCAR is so thin skinned and fine happy, they should direct their anger to any reporter or media person that dare ask a question about NASCAR’s holy grail. Denny Hamlin was very respectful and told the truth as he has just “experienced” it. Sorry, NASCAR Denny is a “qualified expert” and his opinion has “professional value”. This a good example of sometimes “The Truth Hurts”. In essence what NASCAR has done is ordered Hamlin (as well as all other drivers) to tell a lie on their behalf. Which is asking Hamlin to be disrespectful to himself. What does NASCAR want? Yes, I know! 43 programmed vanilla robots.

Now comes what may be the saddest part of the issue. How do we as fans react to NASCAR’s behavior. In the past NASCAR has prided itself and telling various drivers that NASCAR does not need them, but they need NASCAR. Guess what NASCAR you want to give that same speech to us fans. The “only” way to get NASCAR’s attention is to keep your wallet in your pocket. Otherwise this arrogance will never end. Now, Its up to us fans to stop it.

Jacklegged Nascar Expert
03/08/2013 09:07 AM

Gen 666-Nascar’s New Coffin.

03/08/2013 09:07 AM

Just another reason not watch na$car. Like the MLB players playing in the Little World Series. I have stopped viewing nationwide !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Carl D.
03/08/2013 09:36 AM

I’ve never had more respect for Denny Hamlin than I do right now. Where do I send my “Pay Denny’s Fine” contribution? Time to start a movement.

I’ve heard nothing about where Coach Gibbs stands on Denny’s actions. Is he behind his driver or does he agree with Nascar? Just curious.

03/08/2013 09:41 AM

We already have too many drivers with muzzled personalities. You might as well get rid of the drivers and race remote-controlled cars for 3 hours.

03/08/2013 09:44 AM

I am no Hamlin fan but this fine is total BS on NA$CAR’s part. And a fine for using the N word when millions of blacks call each other that all the time?
03/08/2013 11:23 AM

NASCAR certainly didn’t get the reaction they expected. They’ve lost more in the backlash then they gained by trying to censor Denny. No one is going to win this one.

03/08/2013 11:44 AM

I’m not a Hamlin fan, but this fine is stupid on NASCAR’s part. I watched the incredibly boring races at both Daytona and Phoenix and had already formed my own opinion of how “racy” the Gen 6 (not much better than the COT). NASCAR put lipstick on a pig, maybe the pig will improve but fining the drivers for saying it needs work doesn’t change my opinion.

Don Wolf
03/08/2013 12:03 PM

I would love to see all the other drivers say they will chip in to pay Denny’s fine. Wouldn’t that send a message to NAZICAR

Michael in SoCal
03/08/2013 12:16 PM

I’m with Bill B. But I’m going to try to boycot all of the cookie cutter races.

And Don Wolf – man that would be a great Eff You to Nascar.

03/08/2013 12:18 PM

It’s simple: If the fans stand behind Hamlin and Brad K. for speaking their minds then the fans can speak their minds by calling and/or emailing nascar.

I wish this article had provided those numbers and emails of the nascar overlords.

And when you go to the races you can voice your opinion as well by making signs and T-shirts. And find the nascar hauler and surround it.

Find the SPEED stage and voice your opinion there too.

03/08/2013 12:44 PM

Jeff, one of your best.

03/08/2013 12:47 PM

On top this BS about Denny Hamlin, what about the sc__w job done on Jereme Clemmons?

Sherri T
03/08/2013 02:00 PM

Great article Jeff!

Exactly the tone I thought of when I heard about this mess. It’s going to do nothing but tick off the fan base, especially the long time fans, like me, who want to see MORE personality in the sport, not less!

Also agree on the NRA thoughts! Hope they don’t screw that one up too!

03/08/2013 02:04 PM

Several years ago, NASCAR fined Geoff Bodine for some post race remarks. I thought at the time that it would be the tip of the iceberg.

03/08/2013 02:08 PM

Denny’s comments were mild and to the point with the question asked. NASCAR should have talked with him privately.

Now, as far as the new car goes, it’s no mystery that you’re going to have aero issues with the same approach as the last car when you have front spoilers/splitters that reach the ground and you go to high speed mile and a half tracks. You need to change the tracks and get rid of the aero aids and more towards mechanical grip to get better racing.

03/08/2013 02:48 PM

Should’nt have said it as he passed more cars than most (whole field less 2)Also way to early for that (grow up denny) But Nascars commie reaction is unbelievable..What happened to free speech (is nascar still American?) & not paying the fine? Ha Ha Guess some one won’t be racing long …Grow up denny

03/08/2013 03:01 PM

Seems I’m not the only fan to be critical of NASCAR. If a driver (any driver)really cares about racing, like Brad K & Denny, they are going to have opinions on the product they have to race. If it’s not raceable, they should be able to say so.Even 5-time is whining – why doesn’t NASCAR fine him?
Or did 5-time have a point and they should take away “CousinCarl’s” win? NASCAR is clearly in the wrong. It appears they hope to make some money by fining every driver who doesn’t compliment them… Stupid!

03/08/2013 04:39 PM

I neve was much of a Denny Hamlin fan until now. Nice to see a driver that has some balls, not just another corprate schill. Stick to your principles and do not pay that fine. I wonder how far NASCAR will take this. The more it drags along the worse it makes them look.

03/08/2013 05:29 PM

Listen up, race fans! I’m sure on Raceday, we’ll hear Kenny Wallace and Larry Mac saying how wonderful NASCAR is and how right they are to do everything they do. Thoroughly sick of NASCAR’s heavy handed tactics.

03/08/2013 05:47 PM

Awsesome article, a reporter wanting to tell nascar where to stick it, that’s funny right there I don’t care who you are. I wish the drivers in cup and nationwide would stike. Nascar has alienated its fans by fining its drivers and with secret fines or can’t say why they are fining them only using the lame duck excuse of detrimental to stock racing. Nascar heads or the detriment to the sport wanting the drive to diversity so you get 50 cents with his antics with Arin Andrews and have the audacity to fine and suspend Clements for his comments. Andrews should have laid a slap upside his head. I’m getting fed up in a hurry with only certain drivers getting coverage. With all that said they wonder why fans are upset.

03/09/2013 08:06 AM

Denny is correct in his statements and his refusal to pay!!
And Jeff, as a card carrying NRA member, I agree that nascrap needs all the support they can get!!

03/09/2013 12:49 PM

I know this is late. I’m surprised no one pointed out that Kyle Busch said a lot more about the COT and was not fined after winning Bristol in the COT’s first race. he was driving for the FELON.


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?

Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.