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Denny Hamlin says Clint Bowyer's team was warned months ago by NASCAR that it was pushing the limits

  Denny Hamlin fires off about Clint Bowyer's Loudon car...and the next day Kevin Harvick, Bowyer's teammate, fires right back -- at Hamlin's right-rear fender (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR) 


By Mike Mulhern


  DOVER, Del.

   Denny Hamlin was quick to diss Sprint Cup title rival Clint Bowyer Friday afternoon over Bowyer's defense against NASCAR's championship 'death penalty' for what the sanctioning body says was an 'illegal' car in winning Loudon Sunday.
   But keep in mind Hamlin and Bowyer have had their moments this season: http://bit.ly/cpWhnN
   Hamlin called Bowyer's 'tow-truck' defense "a crock."
   And Hamlin got even more wound up.
"In the garage, everyone has known it for months," Hamlin said about questions about Bowyer's cars. "It's not two weeks old.
   "This is something that's been going on for months.
   "They've been warned for a long time...way before Richmond.
   "This is not 'Oh, man, they just told us halfway (Wednesday) after Richmond and going into Loudon that our car's wrong.' They knew it was wrong way before that. And I felt they just wanted to get everything they could.
"What did they have to lose, really? You almost can't fault them for that.
   "You can talk about how small the thing was off, and you can really try to say that 60-thousandths (of an inch) didn't help him perform any better....(but) that is a crock.
   "Let me tell you something: that helps a lot.
   "I know when we gain five points of downforce our car runs a ton better.
   "He wasn't 'speeding on pit road by a half-a-mile per hour; he was speeding by 5.5 miles-per-hour.'"
   And Hamlin says "everyone" in the NASCAR garage knows that Bowyer and his team have been pushing the limits for months. He says they were warned well before the Sept. 11th Richmond race.
   "NASCAR has been very, very lenient, I feel, on this car," Hamlin said of Bowyer and his crew. "They've given those guys chances.
   "It's not (just) Richmond.
   "I think they should just be happy they're in the chase at this point.
   "They were warned, and they were warned before Richmond. Everyone in the garage knows that.
   "They're the ones who wanted to press the issue and get all they could, to make sure they got in the chase.
   "They got in it, and then they were busted. They kept going with it."

    Denny Hamlin likes to say what's on his mind....even if rivals, and NASCAR executives, sometimes don't like it (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   Hamlin brushed off Bowyer's complaint that Hamlin's Loudon car didn't pass post-race height inspection for 20 minutes while Bowyer's own car went right through okay at the track (only to get tagged Wednesday back at NASCAR's Concord, N.C., shop).
   "That's pretty standard," Hamlin insists. "You see that a lot of weeks, where that stuff happens, cars having to go back through.
   "Our cars did have to go through twice, and I'm just not sure whether it was the front or the back (that didn't pass initially).
   "That's what that 'grace period' is for.
   "Our car came back and it was correct. "But it wasn't built incorrect -- and that's one thing that their car was -- was built incorrectly."
   Hamlin, who finished second to Bowyer at Loudon, said he wasn't upset with not getting the win, in light of Bowyer's questionable car.
   "I understand they get to keep the win, the trophy, and all of that," Hamlin said.
   "But if you asked that team whether they would give up the trophy for those points and the money back, I'm sure they would say yes.
   "I could have beat him anyway; give me a lap or two.
   "I'm not too discouraged with what we ended up with there...I know we were the fastest legal car."
   The 'tow-truck did it' defense?
   "This is the car I had in Atlanta (Labor Day weekend), and we blew up at Atlanta, they towed this car all the way in and destroyed the trunk -- the tow truck destroyed the trunk," Hamlin said. "We never replaced one thing on the tail of this car, and it just went through inspection fine.
   "My (Atlanta) car went through way more destruction than his did, and my car is fine.
   "I think they're just trying to salvage their season, and they're going to do everything they can.
   "But there has to be a point where it's black-and-white. If they let them get away with this 60-thousandths of an inch, when do you stop? When do you say 'Now we have to penalize...'"
   Hamlin goes further, saying the Bowyer penalty could be like a shot-over-the-bow for Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton, Bowyer's teammates and title challengers too.
   "It's going to affect them," Hamlin insists.

Having to go through twice to

Having to go through twice to let suspension cool down is a farce. Obviously this is giving certain cars enhanced performance while on the track. Wilson got caught, but there's plenty of shenanigans that goes on by other teams.

i agree that this 'cool down'

i agree that this 'cool down' thing is absurd. you're right or wrong. period.

I find it more than ironic

I find it more than ironic that Denny Hamlin, who makes so many self righteous speeches about respect (while spinning out other drivers) is so quick to throw mud at someone of Richard Childress' stature. Maybe he should show a little more respect for a man and organisation that has, for more years than he has been alive, been one of the most respected in Nascar. It certainly doesn't make him look particularly upstanding himself, does it? In fact, it reeks of sour grapes, since Clint and RCR beat him on Loudon. If Nascar wonders why fans are losing interest these days, it may be because of these childish outbursts from many of the drivers.

Childress stature??

Childress?? Stature in the garage?? Don't make me laugh. The only stature he has is the king of the crying towel users going back to the days when he drove his own cars. "Big E" would have a win total about half of what is now on record if his Childress cars had been thoroughly inspected. A guy who quit their engine shop a few years ago stated that none of their motors were really legal. I hope they drag the #29 and the #31 off to inspection after the next few races too. Nascar will probably find a whole catalog of violations. The real outrage here is the $50 BILLION that their mothership (GM) suckled from the US taxpayers while they keep funneling support money to their cheatin' Nascar team owners.


They say NASCAR is losing fans, TV ratings are in the tank. I sit by a guy at Bristol who was at his first race since Toyota got into Cup racing, the young don't care and the older, which I am one of is sick of Toyota in racing. They have all the money in the world but nothing from the past that makes people want to support them, no Z28's, no Shelby's, no Cuda's or Challenger's, just new money, a factory that makes all the racing engines, at a cost in the billions. They buy people, almost all the announcers in NASCAR are with them, the drivers hats are not the sponsor its a Toyota emblem, if that was my company on the side of that car I would be upset.

Glad to hear some honesty

Glad to hear some honesty from a driver instead of the same ole NASCAR shill and standard media phrases. Hamlin hit the nail head on about the tow truck causing Bowyer's car to not pass inspection. Couldn't have said it better myself. We all knew Childress using that excuse was a "crock". The problem with this whole incident is that we the fans don't know what to believe. NASCAR is shady, and the teams are always trying to find every loophole in the rules they can to find some speed. The only thing that makes me think there is some kernel of truth to this is that NASCAR and Childress have been in bed together so long that it would have been more likely for this to have been overlooked than for them to be hammered with a severe penalty.


Denny has no right to be doing what he doing right now calling RCR all cheaters out there and that theyve been warned, if anything Denny and Kyle both cheat when it comes to racing, we seen the 18 put the 88 in the wall at Richmond after those to swaped rides tell me tha wasnt cheating at it best Denny pushed the button many times this year and nascar only did punish him for his little twitter BS he did, id anything Denny NEEEDS to SHUT hit MOUTH becuz he trying to call a TEAM that been around linger the JGR a cheating team and they dnt play fair well Denny answer this for me does JGR or RCR have the most championship...hmmm i think RCR does there Denny so go back to your little dark corner of JGR and stay there do what you do best drive a car not run your mouth becuz it seems to get you into trouble everytime you do Denny

Cool it on cool down

What's different between mounting new tires after the race to allow the car to get back to pre-race conditions for fair height measurements and allowing a limited cool down period for shocks to return to pre-race temperatures,if necessary,to pass post-race tests? In my opinion they both are based on a reasonable fairness principle. I agree that NASCAR needs to approve/disapprove cars at the track not at the tech center.

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