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Denny Hamlin Voices Frustration About Pit Road Penalty on Twitter

JOLIET, ILLINOIS – JUNE 30: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on June 30, 2019 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Denny Hamlin was having a pretty good day in the Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. That is, until he was enforced a penalty for an uncontrolled tire during a lap 105 pit stop.

Hamlin, who had won the opening Stage of the race was sent to the back of the pack, where he eventually had contact with another competitor which led to his team making repairs later in the race and just never being in position to work their way back up the leader board. Hamlin would finish 15th.

The penalty that was called on Hamlin’s stop for the uncontrolled tire, like many over the past year, didn’t seem like it should have been much of a penalty. And Hamlin was fired up to take on the call late Sunday night on Twitter.

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After Hamlin’s Tweet, which called into question the common sense of NASCAR’s pit road penalty procedures, NASCAR’s Steve O’Donnell explained on SiriusXM Radio’s Morning Drive that their PRO system, which checks for errors across pit road digitally cannot take into account the intent of a crew member. But that it sticks to the black and white letter of the law.

“Well, you can’t judge intent,” O’Donnell said. “If a part breaks or anything in the car, if we had to judge intent really on almost any penalty we’d be in trouble. That’s why we have a rule book and it’s black and white and we’ve been through those things. It’s in place for safety reasons. We’ve been consistent on those calls all year. I think we’re looking at some things around the new car that we can do down the road. We certainly don’t want to be in the rules business or too many rules. But on that case it’s one where we’ve got to make that call.”

That answer didn’t sit too well with Hamlin, who truly felt like he was wronged on Sunday, and Hamlin doubled down on Twitter.

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Hamlin has two wins in the 2019 season, including the season-opening Daytona 500.

Hamlin has been guilty of speeding on pit road more than just about everyone in recent years, but the driver has worked hard to crack down on those issues and hasn’t had a speeding penalty since Bristol — nine races ago. So, it’s understandable that a pit road penalty would raise Hamlin’s ire.

Toby Christie View All

Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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