Following NASCAR’s announcement Tuesday evening that it has suspended NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES driver Matt Kenseth for two races, NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES driver Denny Hamlin, teammate of Kenseth, called in to FS1’s NASCAR RACE HUB exclusively to share with co-hosts Adam Alexander and Danielle Trotta his thoughts on the suspension. Below is a transcript of Hamlin’s comments:
On his reaction to the suspension:
“I probably am more confused after than I was before. You know they (NASCAR) digest a lot, and they are the parent figure within our organization and tell us what the rules are. We try to play by them every week. Sometimes those rules are gray and we don’t know what the penalties are each week, and I think it’s kind of more in that line right now.”
On whether he can understand Kenseth’s recent frustration and the need to stand up for himself and maintain respect in the garage:
“There's an unspoken driver code and we talk about this a lot and a lot of fans don’t understand what driver code is. But any race car driver that's been doing this long enough understands what the driver code is, and I feel like the driver code that's been established since racing has ever begun 100 years ago, that driver code is more compromised now than ever. And NASCAR said in years past, and they said even this year, that they like the drivers to police themselves. Matt was policing himself and he was policing the driver code, in my opinion. When someone does you wrong, they have an opportunity to defuse the situation by a phone call or talking to you at the race, any kind of thing like that. Or even through the media they can say they made a mistake. I feel like none of that happened and instead it was kind of an 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry about your luck. You're going to have to deal with it because this is how I'm going to handle it.' And that probably frustrated Matt. And on top of that, I don't think Joey reached out to Matt to defuse the situation. So Matt thought it was in his driver code to take care of the situation. And that's what he did."
On his level of frustration with recent on-track incidents and Tuesday’s resulting penalties:“NASCAR sometimes just gets influenced by media too much. You guys are part of that, and I understand, everyone’s trying to do their job. But when media demands there’s some kind of suspension, I think they (NASCAR) adhere to that at times. Drivers, I think, had a much different opinion of this weekend than what media did. It sucks that sometimes I feel like they’re strongly influenced too much by fans and media versus doing what sometimes is the right thing.”
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