Ryan Blaney appears to have upset his fellow competitor Denny Hamlin with his fiery comments during last Sunday's 4EVER 400 at Homestead.
Blaney went as far as to refer to Hamlin as a "hack," a term that was first uttered by Hamlin about Alex Bowman at Martinsville in 2021. Now it appears Hamlin and Blaney have a feud building.
It's odd that Hamlin waited so long to respond, because he had no idea he had done anything wrong to Blaney when he was first interviewed after being released from the infield care center following his crash on the track.
In Hamlin's mind, he didn't do anything wrong and was just racing hard. As he put it, he was trying to put himself in a position to win, when his steering went away and resulted in the crash that knocked him out of the race. Blaney was caught on his radio laughing and referring to Hamlin as a "dickhead."
Once Hamlin officially heard what Blaney had to say, he had his own response. And he didn't hold back from sending a message to Blaney, as a majority of his "Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin" podcast covered what happened between the two.
On the new episode of the podcast called "That Wasn't A Hack Move," he disagreed with Blaney's comments.
DH responds to the comments made that he was a ?hack? ? pic.twitter.com/Jat11cuvfX
— Dirty Mo Media (@DirtyMoMedia) October 25, 2023
"That's two people racing, by the way, for the final four of a championship battle," Hamlin said. "It's just interesting to me, depending on who's involved, like, I don't understand, 'Why are you racing Blaney so hard?' What are you talking about? I'm trying to make it into the Final Four."
Hamlin then went on to address what he believed happened and the thought process of the strategy by his No. 11 team and that of Blaney's No. 12 team. Hamlin admitted that it crossed his mind that he should have given up the spot to Blaney to try to limit Christopher Bell, who eventually went on to win the race.
"What we're trying to do is get a half car length ahead so we can say, 'OK, it's my spot, concede, get in line, and let's go.' That's what I tried to do in 1 and 2," Hamlin said. "But the laps after that, I go in there, I'm going to go deep again, but he's down on my door and I'm hitting the gas to establish that it's my position. But as I gas up, he gasses up. So, he's saying, 'No, you're not. I'm going to fight you for this spot.' So, I let off and leaving him plenty of room and we raced side by side again down the backstretch."
No matter which driver says they were in the right, it's nice to see someone trying to call Hamlin out. Blaney and Hamlin seem to have built some drama, and it should be interesting to see how it plays out during the final two races of the season, beginning at Martinsville—the last chance for both drivers to make the Championship Four—where Blaney is above the cut line and Hamlin 17 points below.
Hamlin certainly seems to enjoy playing the villain, especially when it might ruffle the feathers of a young championship rival.
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