Hamlin says "classy" move by Harvick knocked him out of contention

It appeared for a while on Monday Denny Hamlin may be returning to form at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Hamlin says "classy" move by Harvick knocked him out of contention
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Hamlin led 111 of the 500 laps and earned a victory in Stage 1 of Monday’s snow-delayed STP 500 but a run-in with Kevin Harvick with less than 125 laps remaining knocked him out of contention.

The two were battling for position on Lap 375 when they traded bumps, first as Harvick got around Hamlin for position and then as Hamlin retaliated after the fact.

Harvick didn’t take kindly to the bumps and appeared to brake-check Hamlin with Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota receiving damage to its nose.

“He (Harvick) just got to me and I think bumped me three or four times and then I was just bumping him back and he brake-checked me,” Hamlin said on pit road. “I probably shouldn’t have brake-checked him in the first place.

“They were just some light bumps here and then slammed on the brakes there. So classy.”

Hamlin was forced to make a second pit stop under the final caution and restarted as the last car on the lead lap. He made his way back to 12th at the finish.

Hamlin insisted there were no “hard feelings.”

“I’m not mad or anything. Definitely tore up our race car pretty good,” he said. “When he bumps us, we just tried to keep our car under control.”

Hamlin said there was no chance at a better finish after the incident unless there was another caution in the race – and there wasn’t.

“I thought we had anywhere from a third to a sixth-place car – plenty of improvement from where we were over the last couple times we’ve been here,” he said. “Overall, better, definitely better than we’ve been so I’m happy with that.”

Asked about the incident with Hamlin, Harvick said, “He was on the bottom (racing groove) and I knocked him out of the way.”

Asked if he intentionally brake-checked Hamlin, Harvick said, “No, he hit me a couple times and I was just trying to make sure I had my car under control.”

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