Denny Hamlin, the driver of the #11 Joe Gibbs racing machine, had a tough day at the inaugural World Wide Technology Raceway in St. Louis, and it ended with him seemingly promising to fence Ross Chastain sometime in the future.
During the race, Hamlin was spun out and his car was crippled after Chastain sent him into the outside wall with Michael Waltrip bluntly saying, “Ross has been all over the back of Denny and he finally just runs into the back of him.”
Hamlin would never recover, but he would attempt to make Chastain’s day as bad as his. Hamlin would attempt to run Chastain off the track. At another point in the Enjoy Illinois 300 race, Hamlin would again attempt to delay Chastain.
Chastain would eventually get on the wrong side of Chase Elliott during a restart where he attempted to thread the needle and make it three-wide on a restart. The gambit didn’t pay off and he sent Elliott spinning.
During another restart, Elliott would get a little payback as he drove into the left rear quarter panel of Chastain sending the #1 car up the track. As Chastain recovered, Hamlin nearly doored Chastain.
With almost 100 laps left, Hamlin would then do a really good job of blocking Chastain from passing him significantly delaying Chastain .
Following the race, Hamlin spoke to Fox Sports’ NASCAR reporter Bob Pockrass telling him, “You’ve just got to fence these guys hard just to kind of get their attention. It’s going to have to be meaningful, on a meaningful day.”
Hamlin previously told Pockrass, “This sport is self-policing. Usually when you least expect it and when it means the most is when it comes back around.”
Denny Hamlin said when he pays back Ross Chastain, it will be meaningful and when he least expects it, that you have to “fence these guys hard” to get their attention.
More of what Hamlin said about Chastain after Gateway: pic.twitter.com/B0SCkCct6r
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) June 5, 2022
Cassill, who drives the #10 for Kaulig Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series reacted to Hamlin’s comments on Twitter saying, “Ross races hard and probably over stepped, sure. But I hope we’re not really planning to ‘fence guys hard’. Anybody who has driven the NextGen knows how hard these hits feels. Denny can do better.”
Hamlin’s crew chief Chris Gabehart reacted to Cassill’s comments with a couple of emojis to which Cassill replied, “Hey I’m with ya man. Maybe I’m the one being a wimp here. Plus it’s your championship battle, not mine. But I’ve seen Denny break his back over dumb vengeful driving and that didn’t look fun. Pay him back, whatever.”
For his part, Chastain spoke with Fox Sports’ Jamie Little after the race putting the blame on himself saying, “It was terrible driving, Jamie. It’s one thing to do it once, but I just kept driving into guys and at this level I’m supposed to be better than that.”
“And it’s just shame for Moose and Advent Health and Jockey and Worldwide Express. To have all these people believing in me and Justin Marks and Pitbull to put me in this car, they deserve better,” he continued.
He then stated, “I owe half the field an apology and it’s words aren’t going to fix it so I’ll have to pay for it on the track and almost did today, and I deserve everything that they do.”
“I just can’t believe that I continued to make the same mistakes and overdrive the corners and drive into guys. I had time under caution to get reset and we go green and I drive into somebody. It’s terrible, “he concluded.
What do you make of Cassill’s comments? What kind of payback do you think Hamlin will give to Chastain?