Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin is known in the garage and among fans to be something of a whiner. He appears to like to whine when he loses. He’s even been known to whine when he wins. He was at it again after the recent Chase race at Martinsville on the day October 30th this year.
Let’s Set the Stage for Denny’s Whining After Martinsville
The race on October 30th at Martinsville was the first of three in the final Elimination Round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup before the final race at Homestead-Miami. Everyone “knows” that you can only pass on the inside. Jimmie was in seventh and Denny was in eighth at the time of the incident in question.
Denny was in the preferred line on the inside while Jimmie was on the outside. Jimmie had “found something” in the outside lane. Denny would approach Jimmie’s left rear quarter, but could never even draw even with him, let alone make the pass in the corners. Jimmie would power ahead on corner exit. This went on for several laps until Denny “put the bumper to” Jimmie to move him out of the way.
Denny could/should have raced Jimmie cleanly. However, “using the chrome horn” is somewhat accepted practice, especially at short tracks like Martinsville. The problem is, Denny could never pass Jimmie. He couldn’t even draw completely even with him in the corners where he was alittle bt better than Jimmie. So, on entry to a corner, Denny gave him a little tap which moved Jimmie up the track and caused him to have to lift long enough to allow Denny to pass him.
In Post-Race Interviews Denny Was Heated and Whined
During the sit-down interviews after the race, Denny whined about how hard Jimmie raced him “for seventh, not for the lead. He raced me like that for seventh.” Denny then went on to say how he has raced people hard like, but only for the lead. Denny’s raced people hard for 39th during his career, so he was trying to make excuses about why he was crying about Jimmie.
During his sit-down post-race interview, Jimmie said that he was aware that Denny was upset that Jimmie raced him so hard. However, he was not a bit repentant about doing so. “Man, I’m out there to win. We’ve got the Championship on the line, points on the line. I get accused of racing hard? Man, I’ll take that as a compliment.”
Track position is everything at Martinsville. Give it up and you’re going to spend at least a few laps trying to get it back. You’re out there in the outside lane at that track, you can’t just roll over and let someone pass you, you fight to keep them behind you and keep your track position. Denny had a line of cars behind him. If Jimmie had rolled over and let Denny pass, Jimmie would most likely have lost several positions on the track because of the line of cars behind Denny. Denny has this habit of expecting other drivers to simply let him pass if he’s able to get up to them, even if he’s unable to complete the pass on his own merit and that’s not racing. That’s Denny whining. Again.
What do you think? Where you there at Martinsville to witness this tussle between Denny and Jimmie? Did you watch it on TV? Should Jimmie have simply rolled over and given Denny the position or did he do the right thing fighting hard to maintain his track position? Let us know what you think in the comments below. If you missed it, Jimmie ended up passing Denny near the end of the race, cleanly, and won. The Chase moves on to Phoenix this weekend.