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“He’s just a hack, just an absolute hack,” Denny Hamlin Livid With Alex Bowman Following Late-Race Contact and Spin at Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, VIRGINIA – OCTOBER 31: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, reacts after the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 31, 2021, in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)

“This isn’t Bowman Gray Stadium. This is the Cup Series.” – Alex Bowman

Maybe it isn’t, but it sure as hell looked like it after Sunday’s Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Even though the general expectation is for tempers to flare when you put 40 cars on a half-mile paperclip, things just seem to get more intense when drivers are fighting to capture a championship at NASCAR’s top level.

Needless to say, that was the case when it came to a late-race incident between Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin. Bowman – an eliminated playoff contender — was battling for the victory with Hamlin – a playoff contender — when the two cars made contact, sending the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry spinning, and his substantial points advantage down the drain.

Hamlin finished in 24th, but still had enough points to advance to Phoenix Raceway with a shot at his first championship in the NASCAR Cup Series. On the other hand, Alex Bowman was able to hold off Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski to pick up his fourth victory of the season in NASCAR Overtime.

Denny Hamlin was not impressed… at all…

 

As Bowman was getting ready to celebrate for the crowd in Martinsville, Virginia, Hamlin had other plans and decided to pull his Toyota Camry right next to the race winner, and impeded his progress. After the Hendrick Motorsports driver maneuvered his way around the stopped car and looped around, Hamlin made a move that looked like something from a local short track, or a movie, pulling nose-to-nose with the No. 48.

Hamlin’s post-race message even included a pair of nicely wrapped gifts, addressed directly to Alex Bowman, as both of his middle fingers were furiously extended in the direction of the celebrating No. 48.

It was at that point when you could hear Hamlin’s radio communications, as a crew member said: “Alright Denny, be smart, big picture here, big picture.”

Hamlin then backed away from the No. 48 and drove back to pit road, although this ‘confrontation’ on the frontstretch apparently had no effect on the level of anger that the five-time Martinsville Speedway winner was feeling, as he made his frustrations with Bowman painfully clear in a post-race interview with NBC’s Dillon Welch.

“He’s just a hack. Just an absolute hack,” Hamlin said as the NBC broadcast picked up the roaring boos from the grandstands. “He gets his ass kicked by his teammates every week. He’s fucking terrible. He’s just terrible. He sees one opportunity, he takes it.

Obviously, he’s got the fastest car every week and he runs 10th,” Hamlin continued. He didn’t want to race us there. We had a good, clean race. I moved up as high as I could on the racetrack to give him all the room I could, he still can’t drive.”

As for Bowman, his side of the story was – obviously — the opposite of Hamlin’s, telling NBC Sports in his frontstretch interview that there was no negative intent behind the accident with six laps to go, but rather just a hard battle for the victory in the closing laps of a NASCAR Cup Series race.

“I just got loose in. I got in too deep, knocked him out of the way, and literally let him have the lead back,” Bowman said. “For anybody that wants to think I was trying to crash him, obviously wasn’t the case considering I literally gave up the lead at Martinsville to give it back to him. He’s been on the other side of that. He’s crashed guys here for wins. I hate doing that. Obviously, I don’t want to crash somebody.”

While it’s unlikely this ‘rivalry’ will go beyond Sunday’s race at Martinsville, Bowman says he hopes to have a discussion this week with Hamlin about what unfolded. However, at least for Hamlin, focus shifts to Phoenix Raceway and capturing his first NASCAR Cup Series title.

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