Can somebody get Denny Hamlin a tissue?
The latest chapter in his ongoing feud with Brad Keselowski erupted at Phoenix in Saturday’s Nationwide race.
Here’s the short version of what happened: Hamlin tries to wreck Keselowski, who ends up saving his car, then Keselowski returns the favor and Hamlin spins. I’ll admit Keselowski’s payback was a bit blatant and perhaps overly harsh, and he was talked to by NASCAR about the incident, but the fact remains that Hamlin started it all by hitting Keselowski.
At first glance at the replay, it looked like Brad was living up to reputation as a battering ram. But as they say, you get what you give. Looking back further at the footage, it was clear that Hamlin initiated the bumping battle, and racers don’t forget and usually retaliate in the next corner. Hamlin should know that by now.
As usual, Hamlin was in full whining mode after the race, and said he will put Keselowski in the fence in next week’s Nationwide race.
"I'm just happy that I signed up for next week's Nationwide race,'' Hamlin said. "There's a lot of guys that owe him. There's a lot of guys that have a lot of chips that they're going to cash in. I'm just going to be the first to the pay window.''
If Hamlin does this at Homestead, I hope NASCAR parks him for the rest of the Nationwide race and suspends him from the Cup race. That’s what they did to Kevin Harvick in 2002 at Martinsville, when he threatened to wreck another driver in the Truck race and them went out and did it. Parking Hamlin would only be consistent with that ruling.
Hamlin went on, saying he told Keselowski: “I just want you to know when I wreck you, don't be mad. We still won't be even.” He indicated the NASCAR officials would condone his actions if he wrecked Keselowski, something they have denied.
Keselowski explained after the race that he was able to save his car after Hamlin’s bump, but Hamlin couldn’t save him car after being bumped by Brad. This obviously bruised Hamlin’s fragile ego.
"Let me tell you something. The one thing he ain't got is more talent then me,” he said.
This whole incident shows that Keselowski has gotten into Hamlin’s head so bad, it’s driving him crazy. Hamlin seems obsessed with Brad, and constantly wants to call him names … the latest being “a complete moron” and “a total whackjob”.
Hamlin has long had a sense of entitlement, and basically expects Nationwide regulars to pull over for him when he races in that series. He’s mad because Keselowski is standing up to him, and not letting Hamlin push him around on the track.
I’m not giving Keselowski a free pass here, either. I recognize that he can be overly aggressive at times, and that will become more under control he gains more experience in Cup and is racing against bigger names he respects more.
But that doesn’t change the fact that Hamlin is doing nothing but bash Keselowski, yet failing to admit that this is a two-way street and both drivers have been on the hitting end. It’s like O.J. Simpson syndrome. He’s convinced himself he did nothing wrong, and it’s all somebody else’s fault.
I suggest everyone mail Hamlin a box of Kleenex, because at the rate he’s whining lately, he’s going to need a lot of them.
Mario car pretty cool
Despite the person driving it, I was digging the Super Mario paint scheme on the #20. Very cool for all of us old-school Nintendo fans.
Steven Wallace comedy show continues
Watching Steven Wallace’s tire doing a lap around the track due to a pit road miscue is the latest comedy of errors on that #66 team. Rusty must be very frustrated with how the team is performing in 2009, between all the wrecks and stupid mistakes like this.
Out of racing for about 6 years due to a head injury, Jerry Nadeau may be looking to get back into racing. It’s been reported that he was at the track in Phoenix, and is telling people that he hopes to raise funds that will allow him to run in the Grand-Am series in 2010.
It’s never easy recovering from a head injury, but I wish him luck in his efforts to get back into racing.