Denny Hamlin admitted to taking out Ross Chastain at the end of the United Rentals Work United 500 at Phoenix Raceway this past weekend.
In the final laps of the race, Hamlin drove up the track and shoved Chastain into the wall.
After Chastain accelerated past him and attempted to rejoin the field, Hamlin roughed him up from behind, slamming into his rear end multiple times.
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Hamlin’s tactics cost him and Chastain multiple spots at the end of the race. Hamlin ended up finishing in 23rd with Chastain finishing a spot behind him in 24th.
The two were running in fourth and fifth with only three laps to go after a late race caution.
On his Actions Detrimental podcast, Hamlin admitted to intentionally taking out Chastain believing he would be shuffled to the rear since he only took two tires and the cars behind him took four tires on the final pit stop of the race.
Hamlin said, “At the end of the race, me and Ross got into it. …I got to the end of the race. I saw that he was on the outside of me. I went into turn 1 with the mindset that I’m going to try and get the best finish that I can get. I’m on two tires and I go into turn 1 and while I even went shallow on speed my car plowed. What it means is that I turn the wheel and the front tires just were going straight. And they were calling the 1 car on the outside.”
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Hamlin continued, “So at that point I knew that I was screwed. I was about to go backwards. I had all the four tire cars on my a**. They were gonna pass me or more than likely in the next corner. I know I had two fresh tire cars underneath me anyway, I was four-wide. And I’m like, ‘I’m going straight to the back.'”
“So at that point I know that I’m going to finish — my crew chief told me there was 18 cars on the lead lap. And at that point I said, ‘Alright, well, I’m probably live looking at a picture, I’m probably running sixth or seventh. I’m about to get passed by everybody behind me who is on fresh tires. I’m about to finish in the mid teens,” he explained.
“And I said, ‘You’re coming with me, buddy.’ It wasn’t a mistake. No, it wasn’t a mistake. I let the wheel go and I said, ‘He’s coming with me,'” Hamlin revealed.
Hamlin went on to claim that this wasn’t payback from last year, but had more to do with him getting wrecked at The Clash.
At The Clash, Chastain got his nose under Hamlin in one of the turns and sent Hamlin for a spin.
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However, after claiming it had more to do with incident at The Clash, Hamlin went on to refer to his comments from last year about sending a message to the garage area that he’s not to be trifled with.
After being spun out by Chastain during the Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway last year, Hamlin told Bob Pockrass, “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.
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
On his podcast, Hamlin said, “I’ve said for awhile that you’ve got to do something to get these guys’ attention whatever. And I’ve said it. Ross doesn’t like it when I speak his name on in the media and when I had this microphone, but I told him, ‘Well I have a microphone and I’m gonna call it like I see it. And until you get a microphone you can then say whatever you want about me. But the fact is while I’m sitting here talking I’m going to call things the way I see it, and sometime I have to call myself out.'”
He then proceeded to call himself out and reiterated he intentionally took out Chastain, “Which I’m the dumba** who lost just as many spots as he did. But at the time I says, ‘Well, I’m gonna finish s**t anyway and I’m just gonna make sure that he finishes s**t right here with me.”
After explaining why it can be difficult to get payback given you don’t want to collect someone else in your actions, Hamlin again admitted he fenced Chastain on purpose, “I saw that we were the only people up top so I said, ‘I’m gonna send him in the fence and door him.'”
He continued, “Now, my dumba** got caught up in it because I got pinned. He was between me and the wall. So I got all screwed up and then I lost a bunch of positions for my team, which was stupid as s**t. But at the time I’m like I’m gonna finish in the mid teens anyways because my car is just plowing here. I’m about to get ate up by all these new tires. I was just like if I’m going to give this guy a hard time this is gonna be then.”
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He then went on to admit that he tried to wreck him again in the next corner, “He actually got the jump. He downshifted quicker and then he brake checked me a few times. You saw that from the inboard down the backstretch. He hit the brakes a couple times and I wasn’t letting off at all. It didn’t matter to me. And then after the brake checks then I went in to the next corner and tried.”
Hamlin then heaped some praise on Chastain claiming he’s difficult to spin especially when he knows it’s coming, “I’ll be honest with you, the motherf***er is hard to spin. When he knows it’s coming he is the hardest guy to wreck on the planet.”
Hamlin then appeared to signal he and Ross are going to try and put the rivalry to bed, “I wanted to get back to racing, honestly, with him. And I think that’s a lot of the conversation we had afterwards.”
He later reiterated this point, “We talked and I think we are in a better place where I think we’re willing to put the past behind us. And I think we’re going to judge each other from this point forward. And I think that’s the fairest way to do it. As far as this season is concerned, he got me, and while it didn’t cost him, it did cost me at The Clash, it cost both of us here. That’s my s**t execution. That’s not his fault.”
“I just think we need to just race each other with better respect from this point forward and that’s what I hope to get out of this. He asked for a truce. I asked for a truce. And let’s just see how it goes from here,” Hamlin said.
What do you make of Hamlin’s admission?
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