DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 17: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx 50 Toyota, waits in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series 65th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2023 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin Says NASCAR Drivers Are Scared To Speak Out

There currently isn't a driver in the NASCAR Cup Series more outspoken than Denny Hamlin. That's just who he is, and he isn't going to change that.

As for other drivers in the sport, Hamlin questions why more drivers aren't as outspoken as he is.

If Hamlin had it his way, he would see others be more vocal and he thinks other top drivers in the Cup Series ought to step up to the plate.

Hamlin all but called out the other drivers during a segment on his recent episode of Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin. Hamlin believes that the other top drivers have become too vanilla. He also claims that because those drivers aren't voicing their own opinions, it has "stunted growth" for the future of the sport.

"It drives me crazy no one else has got the balls to be honest," Hamlin said, responding to recent criticism from Hendrick Motorsports' Jeff Gordon about Hamlin's behavior and how Gordon wants the drivers at HMS to act differently. "It's not the driver's fault. They've clearly got white collar standing over the back of them, making sure that they don't do it. Like, that's not good. That's stunting growth. That's stunting star power."

Hamlin was very critical of Gordon's recent comments about the difference between Hamlin's and Gordon's views on driver behavior. Hamlin continued on his rant about how NASCAR has plenty of stars, but none are getting the exposure stars of the past got because of how they act.

"I believe that we have stars in our sport, but they'll never get seen, because you've got that mentality looking over their shoulders. Keep doing you, I'll keep doing me," Hamlin said.

Hamlin's point is valid in the sense that NASCAR had plenty of big personalities in the past with drivers such as Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon. Kyle Busch and Hamlin seem to be the two drivers who aren't afraid to mix it up with other drivers and fans, and Ross Chastain looks to be another driver who isn't afraid of showing off his fiery side either.

Unfortunately, during this new era of NASCAR, most team owners seem to prefer their drivers stay away from controversy to avoid upsetting any corporate sponsors. That might make good business sense but what does it make good entertainment sense? Judging fan response at the track and the number of internet searches on Hamlin each week, clearly he is attracting attention and that seems good for the sport.

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