Denny Hamlin Feb 19, 2023; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After initially saying he wouldn’t appeal, NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin changed course and announced he would appeal NASCAR’s penalty for making intentional contact with Ross Chastain.

Hamlin posted his announcement on Twitter, saying, “After much consideration I’ve decided that I will appeal the decision by NASCAR to penalize me. What happened on Sunday was common hard racing that happens each and every weekend. There was also no manipulation of the race nor actions detrimental to the sport.”

On Monday, one day after Sunday’s race, Hamlin revealed on his Actions Detrimental podcast that he intentionally got into Chastain in Phoenix. After the race, the two came to a truce.

On Wednesday, NASCAR announced Hamlin was penalized 25 driver points and $50,000. NASCAR SVP of Competition Elton Sawyer said on SiriusXM that Hamlin’s comments led to the suspension and if he hadn’t said anything, NASCAR would have deemed the move as a “racing incident.”

Hamlin feels like he has a point, and he very well might. There was nothing out of the ordinary in the incident, and a NASCAR executive even said that they originally saw it as a “racing incident.” So just like NASCAR using Hamlin’s words against him, Hamlin might be able to use Sawyer’s words against NASCAR.

That being said, I would be genuinely surprised if Hamlin wins his appeal. Appeals in general are rarely overturned in NASCAR. A $50,000 fine and 25 points isn’t egregious, and NASCAR has penalized others for intentional contact due to admitting that. Stranger things have happened, but this might not go Hamlin’s way.

Either way, it’ll make for a great episode of Actions Detrimental this upcoming Monday.

[Denny Hamlin]

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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