Yesterday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway ended with Denny Hamlin crossing the finish line first for his 50th career Cup Series victory – and being showered with boos from the sold-out crowd.
It was a controversial ending to what was otherwise a pretty entertaining race.
Late in the HighPoint.com 400, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Larson were racing hard for the win when Hamlin ran Larson up the track and into the wall to take the lead. It was the same move he pulled on Ross Chastain last year to get the win (which was later taken away after Hamlin’s car failed postrace inspection).
Hamlin went on to win the race while Larson fell back to 20th – and had some harsh words for Denny after the race:
“He’s always right. All the buddies know Denny’s always right, so I’m sure he was in the right there as well. It is what it is.
I’m not going to let it tarnish a friendship on track, but I am pissed. And I feel like I should be pissed.”
And Larson also said that while he’s friends with Denny, he’s not a fan of how he races:
“He’s still a friend. Races me like an a**hole, but still a friend. Yeah, I’m just mad right now. I’m sure he’ll say some dumb stuff on Monday night or whatever and I’ll get more mad for a little while and then I’ll eventually get over it.”
Kyle Larson says he is still friends with Denny Hamlin, but Hamlin hasn’t raced him like a friend (he used a choice word to describe the way Hamlin races him). pic.twitter.com/GexHxbWGQm
And after the race, former NASCAR driver and current NBC commentator Kyle Petty had some harsh words for Hamlin and his reaction to the incident, calling out Denny for “playing the victim” when he’s the one in the wrong:
“Denny can’t be the victim. We played his radio. He was the victim. He puts himself in the victim position.
You’re not the victim here, Denny Hamlin.
And when we looked at this one and we heard what Kyle Larson said, he said ‘Denny’s always right, all his buddies know it.’ And he laughed about it, because he knows Denny’s not going to apologize for this.
It was a great race. I enjoyed every lap. I loved the strategy, I loved everything about it. The ending, I don’t appreciate. Even 50 wins, what he’s done, I don’t appreciate that because we saw this same move last year.”