A historic race victory occurred Sunday at Pocono Raceway, as Denny Hamlin won his 50th NASCAR Cup Series race. He moved himself into elite company with Junior Johnson and Ned Jarrett, as they are now tied on the all-time wins list.
Hamlin's win also marked his seventh at the Long Pond, Pennsylvania, track. That broke a tie will NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon for the most wins at Pocono.
However, that isn't the biggest talking point from the weekend. Hamlin is busy dealing with some fallout from, in many people's minds, his running Kyle Larson into the wall in the closing laps of the HighPoint.com 400.
Making history is always impressive in NASCAR, but the win wasn't too popular with folks present, as the sold-out Pocono crowd rained down boos.
Boos from the crowd as Denny Hamlin crosses the line to win under caution at Pocono. pic.twitter.com/FLoGuUMv5P
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) July 23, 2023
Denny Hamlin Addresses Criticism
Hamlin addressed the outcome from Sunday on a new episode of his podcast "Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin." He talked about how Jeff Burton mentioned during NBC's broadcast of the race that boos might have been about how NASCAR didn't throw a caution with two laps to go, and then how Dale Earnhardt Jr. went on to clarify that wasn't what the fans were mad about.
That, however, wasn't the biggest critic Hamlin had something to say about. He had quite a message for NBC's Kyle Petty, who was very critical about what Hamlin did to Larson in the closing laps.
"Who gives a s—- what Kyle Petty says?" Hamlin said to his co-host, Jared Allen.
Hamlin wasn't done defending what he did and once again said he doesn't need to apologize for anything.
In his mind, he did what a driver is supposed to do when fighting for a chance to win. He once again said that he and Larson never touched when Larson's No.5 car went into the wall.
Hamlin then compared all of the situations when something similar occurred with Larson and other drivers, and went on to say he doesn't get criticized for his actions on the track.
He also said that if the roles were reversed, would he still get the "same treatment," and that he wouldn't have made a different choice.
Watch @dennyhamlin responds to criticism over his thrilling Pocono victory.?
— Dirty Mo Media (@DirtyMoMedia) July 25, 2023
"I feel as though, roles reversed, I get the same treatment," Hamlin said. "And so, because I'm unpopular, should I not make that move? Should I not make the move, the same move that would be done to me? I guess I don't know, it's a hard decision to make. And it's really hard to make when it's a split second and you see an opportunity to win a significant race. And I made a choice that — the best word for it is I don't love, but I wouldn't change it."
Hamlin is not afraid to voice his opinion, but Kyle Petty and Earnhardt have a right to speak their mind just the same, Denny — they were racers, too.
Maybe look at yourself in the mirror. Sometimes, you are a little bit of a hypocrite when it comes down to it. As Petty said, quit playing the victim, take responsibility one time.
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