Marcus Smith (left) and Denny Hamlin

NASCAR star Denny Hamlin and Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO Marcus Smith engaged in a heated online feud late Thursday into Friday after the driver questioned the quality of an SMI track.

The veteran driver, who also hosts the popular Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin podcast, started the online battle when he commented on a Reddit photo on X/Twitter that showed pavement damage at SMI’s Sonoma Raceway in California.

“When paving on a budget goes wrong … NWB will be next.” Hamlin wrote, an obvious shot at SMI track management. SMI owns 11 race tracks, including North Wilkesboro Speedway, host of the upcoming NASCAR All-Star Race.

Smith quickly fired back, saying SMI’s track quality “exceeds expectations,” and adding, “Your nonchalant post is insult to hundreds of people that are dedicated to exceeding expectations for the Racing community, and @NASCAR fans around the world.”

Then Smith took a personal shot at Hamlin, who has 53 career NASCAR Cup Series wins and is a certain future Hall of Famer.

You’re negative comments would carry a lot more weight if you had a championship to back them up,” Smith posted on X (via “Good luck in your quest for 2024.”

Smith had a change of heart Friday morning, deleting his tweets aimed at Hamlin and then tweeting an apology.

“I take a lot of pride in the dedication and hard work our teammates put forth to make @NASCAR the very best it can be and I shouldn’t let social media conversations get personal, so I deleted those posts,” Smith wrote. “@dennyhamlin is a passionate driver and team owner and I’m truly looking forward to seeing him drive for a championship this year.”

Hamlin retweeted the message, saying, “I’ll cosign this. I’ll definitely take responsibility for my part in it. It got more personal than it should have for sure.”

This is not the first time Hamlin has ruffled some feathers with his remarks. In 2023, NASCAR penalized him after he admitted on his podcast that he had pushed rival driver Ross Chastain into the wall in a recent race.

[Denny Hamlin on Twitter/X]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.