Denny Hamlin Addresses Kyle Larson Meme: “I Thought It Was Hilarious… But It’s Also Is Insensitive, I Understand”

Denny Hamlin NASCAR

Last week, NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin was the talk of the racing world for all the wrong reasons, after he posted a meme of an Asian woman from Family Guy driving erratically.

The meme was directed towards fellow driver Kyle Larson, who is part Japanese, after he caused a wreck on the final lap at Talladega.

Hamlin took the meme down and posted an apology, and NASCAR ordered him to undergo sensitivity training for the move.

With that being said, the driver discussed the irresponsible move, along with NASCAR’s decision at Dover this past Saturday.

Here’s what he said to Bob Pockrass:

“I respect their decision. I understand where they’re at with it. I’ve done my own sensitivity training, I did diversity training on my own when I started this race team. I went with the best in the country and spent time with them and I understand it all.

I didn’t think this fell into that category, but certainly I understand their decision and it is what it is.” 

He added that he talked to Kyle Larson about it but won’t divulge what they talked about. He also said that the meme was sent to him and he saw the hard lane change which reminded him of Kyle Larson:

“I saw the correlation in the driving. That was it. I didn’t even think twice about the other, which is the insensitive part, right? Whoever created it put I guess his name in front of a woman who’s speaking Asian, I guess you’re making fun of that

Someone gave it to me and I thought it was hilarious, but it’s also is insensitive. I understand. I definitely understand how some people could find it offensive. And if it’s one, then it’s one too many.”

Hamlin added:

“I’ll always continue to be me and it’s not always going to be the most popular thing. But I just am who I am and certainly I never will stop continuing to grow. I always want to be a better person, better dad, better partner, better team owner, better driver.

I always strive to try to be better, and I work really hard at it. That’s why, voluntarily, I did this more extensive training on my own years ago. It just worked out the way it did, and certainly I put myself in a bad spot.”

He also noted that he tends to thrive in chaos, when he’s under the spotlight:

“I think you historically look back at my performance to distraction, and it typically correlates to a pretty good weekend. So I’d probably bet on us if I were you.”

Larson himself also weighed in on the meme, saying that he wasn’t offended himself but understands why NASCAR came down on Denny for it:

Larson also has also received repercussions in the past for a racial slur, when he used one on iRacing, which led to him being suspended by NASCAR in April 2020. He said that Hamlin will grow from this:

“NASCAR did what they had to do, and I appreciate Denny going through the steps to learn from that. Obviously, it was just poor judgement on his part, and I think being in the position that we’re in, you have to be very careful with what you put out into the public.

I wasn’t personally offended by it, you know, because he is my friend. But, I know, and I think he knows now, how there’s millions of other people who a tweet like that could offend.

So no hard feelings from me, but I think after you put something out there, you realize how offensive it can be.”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock