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Denny Hamlin fined, docked NASCAR points for Chastain incident

NASCAR has penalized Denny Hamlin after he admitted to intentionally walling Ross Chastain at the end of the NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix.

On his podcast, Actions Detrimental, Hamlin openly admitted to walling Chastain on purpose during the final restart of the race. The two drivers have a feud dating back to last June, clashing in multiple races since then.

He said on Monday: "It wasn't a mistake. I let the wheel go and I said he's coming with me."

NASCAR has decided to take action, docking Hamlin 25 driver points and fining him $50,000.

The sanctioning body cited the following sections of the rulebook in assessing the penalties:

Sections 4.4: NASCAR Member Code of Conduct

B. - Attempting to manipulate the outcome of the Race or championship. - Wrecking or spinning another vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is removed from Competition as a result

D. - Actions by a NASCAR Member that NASCAR finds to be detrimental to stock car racing or NASCAR.

The two drivers have had several run-ins dating as far back as Gateway last summer. They clashed several times after that, notably at Atlanta Motor Speedway and then Pocono Raceway. In fact, it was Hamlin that Chastain eliminated from the playoffs when he famously rode the wall into the Championship 4 at Martinsville.

The 2023 season began with yet another incident in the pre-season exhibition race in Los Angeles, with Chastain spinning Hamlin. 

Actions Detrimental 

Elton Sawyer, NASCAR's senior vice president of competition, said the sanctioning body likely would have viewed the end-of-race contact between Hamlin and Chastain "as a racing incident."

"But then, 24 hours later, to have a competitor that has gone on a podcast - which we're delighted Denny has a podcast. We think that's great to interact with the fans. But when you start admitting that you have intentionally done something that would compromise the results of the end of the race, then that rises to a level that we're going to get involved," Sawyer said.

"There's no other way to look at that. We were going to get involved in that situation. We've been consistent in the past with that and we will be consistent going forward."

Hamlin reacted to the news, saying he won't appeal the penalty, but will continue with his weekly podcast.

 

However, he later changed his mind, posting the following message on Friday:

 

NASCAR also hit Hendrick Motorsports and Kaulig Racing with major penalties after the louvers from their cars were confiscated. 

The No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing team was also penalized after a wheel that separated from Aric Almirola's car at Phoenix. Crew members Ryan Mulder and Sean Cotten have been suspended from the next two races.

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