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Still-Hot Hamlin says Keselowski Refuses To Man-Up

Mark Armijo | Senior Correspondent, RacinToday.com Friday, October 9 2009
Denny Hamlin is still steamed at Brad Keselowski more than two weeks after their incident at Dover. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

Denny Hamlin is still steamed at Brad Keselowski more than two weeks after their incident at Dover. (Photo courtesy of NASCAR)

By Mark Armijo | Senior Correspondent
RacinToday.com

By the time Denny Hamlin got to Phoenix on Wednesday he still hadn’t forgiven Brad Keselowski for their on-track skirmish nearly two weeks ago in a NASCAR Nationwide race at Dover, Del.

Hadn’t put it on the back-burner, hadn’t swept it under the rug, hadn’t even bothered to shrug his shoulders and label it, “just racin’.”

Hamlin instead delivered to Mr. Keselowski another mouthful of unflattering remarks.

Asked by a reporter if he and Keselowski have spoken since the incident, Hamlin shook his head from side-to-side.

“No, haven’t talked to him at all,” said Hamlin, who en route to California Speedway for race No. 4 of 10 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup title, made a lengthy pit stop in Arizona on behalf of a Phoenix International Raceway promotion. “I don’t really think he’s man enough to call me face to face. Just don’t think it’s his style.”

What Hamlin believes is Keselowski’s style is to sometimes – oftentimes? — drive beyond his capability.

Hamlin points to Dover as Exhibit No. 1, when the right front of Keselowski’s Chevrolet made contact with the left rear on Hamlin’s Toyota as both machines sped into a corner. The impact sent Hamlin into a wall and into a sour mood, a mood that was spiked even more after listening to Keselowski’s explanation during a television interview.

“He has no idea how to race,” Hamlin said at Dover.

Nearly two weeks later Hamlin virtually repeated the mantra.

“How he uses his talent to me is questionable,” Hamlin said. “I didn’t realize it was in question with every single competitor on the Cup side that has raced with him and talked to me about it. “They said, ‘You know, we don’t know what he was doing. It was blatant.’

“Then, listening to him talk (on TV) and making it sound like he was the victim and I was the one taking advantage of him when I was the one in front of him. Well, it was kind of a ridiculous statement. It showed that he just didn’t have much level of maturity at that point.”

To be fair, Dale Earnhardt Jr. thought enough of Keselowski to hire him two years ago for a Nationwide ride, and famed car owner Roger Penske recently signed the 25-year-old driver to a fulltime Cup ride beginning next season.

Such signings should speak volumes about Keselowski’s talents.

Just don’t ask Hamlin for an endorsement.

As for Hamlin’s chances in the Chase, which continues Sunday in Fontana, Calif., he still feels very much a part of the title hunt.

Hamlin is sixth of 12 drivers in the Chase, trailing leader Mark Martin by 99 points with seven remaining stops, including a Nov. 15 appearance at PIR.

“My key thing is with about three races to go, you need to be within 75 points,” Hamlin said. “If we’re at the point, then we’ll be OK. After Talladega (race No. 7), you’ll know. That’s kind of our last wild card race.

“You’ll start to see people separate themselves over those last three races.”

If Hamlin still is in the 75-point mix entering Chase’s last three stops at Texas, PIR (four top-five finishes in his last five starts) and Homestead-Miami, then he’ll issue a warning not to count him out.

“It’s been an eight out of 10 year for us I guess you could say so far,” said Hamlin, who won two of the six races preceding the Chase and also has two top-five finishes in the three Chase races to date. “I’ve been in contention to win some races and didn’t get it done, and then we’ve won a couple in the last couple of months. I’ve kind of been on a roll in that sense.

“I’m happy about the way our team is performing right now. I feel like we’re a top three team. The 48 (Johnson) and 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) are running really well right now. The 5 (Martin), too.

“But I feel like we’re there. We’re running just as competitive as those guys every single week. I just can’t have (Cup) weekends like we had two weeks ago (22nd at Dover).”

– Mark Armijo is the long-time auto-racing beat writer for the Arizona Republic and a frequent contributor to RacinToday.com

Mark Armijo | Senior Correspondent, RacinToday.com Friday, October 9 2009
27 Comments

27 Comments »

  • Richard in N.C. says:

    Looked to me like just a racing deal – but, right or wrong, sure does sound like Denny is taking his eye off the big picture.

  • [...] Phoenix this week for an appearance, Hamlin continued to tee off on Keselowski, saying he hadn’t even spoken to Jet Ski yet. "No, haven’t talked to him at [...]

  • I dont think he always had problem. But future will tell

  • SB says:

    Maybe Denny should worry more about racing his own car and not Brad’s. I think BK has shown that he races more like Dale Earnhardt, Sr. than Mark Martin. Deal with it. If he’s that easily upset, perhaps being in the ‘chase’ is just too hard on his nerves.

  • [...] Phoenix this week for an appearance, Hamlin continued to tee off on Keselowski, saying he hadn’t even spoken to Jet Ski yet. "No, haven’t talked to him at [...]

  • Lou says:

    The object of racing is to go fast and pass everyone. Anything else is of no interest to me. If Brad can drive fast I am all for him doing it. If there are some wrecks along the way so be it. What do you think happens once in a while when you are racing. If you never wreck you aren’t really pushing it. Give me a track full of hot headed lead footed drivers anyday versus this over managed uninteresting taxi cab single file boring follow the leader mentatlity.

  • Amy says:

    Wow some of you are clueless. Whoever said the media and fans agree with Keselowski your stunned hahaha!!! Brad has made himself a bad name amoungst the Cup series drivers already. NOT just Denny Hamlin. Kevin Harvick anyone? Not to mention even JUNIOR, HIS BOSS has made comments that Brads ego has gotten way too big! Brad will never be on Dennys level of racing or talent. Brad is just going to be another could of been unless he gets it in check!

    • Larry says:

      Denny said the the cup drivers said this, funny thing is Denny has no names to go with it. Easy to say, hard to prove. Will guess Denny never wrecked anyone getting to a win, like say this year. He never ran into Brad like say this year or last. He wants Brad to Man up, Brad said he was not going to take being push around. Not hard to figure Brad feels no talk is necessary. I would say there is enough clueless to go around.

  • Brian says:

    Hamlin is a great driver one of the most consistent in the cup series other than the Hendrick crew. He calls it like he sees it and doesn’t hold bad. Brad did over drive his car going into the corner and couldn’t admit it.
    Hamlin will wipe the floor with him next year and every year after – if Hamlin had a few people in his shop to share racing notes with he’d be a lot better than sixth. Keep your eye on the 11 this year – this Chesterfield man is going to show you how to take home the title.

    MHS ‘00
    23832

  • Bill says:

    Hamlin is another Jeremy mAyfield in the making…..just watch over the next few years. Of course, it won’t be his fault..ever…

  • [...] Phoenix this week for an appearance, Hamlin continued to tee off on Keselowski, saying he hadn’t even spoken to Jet Ski yet. “No, haven’t talked to him at [...]

  • kayla says:

    i hate all you stupids your wrong brads stupid and an inoying wrecker dennys better than you cause you guys are stupid and need to shut your stupid mouthes

  • 88fan says:

    I have to disagree with the comments so far. Denny earned respect from his elder Cup drivers early in his career by racing clean and not over driving his car when it’s not capable of staying up front. Brad is not respected in the Cup garage and no longer talks to Jr or seeks his advise on driving or career matters. It will be interesting to see him next year when he’s not in Hendrick equipment and how he teams with Kurt Busch. And for the record, Tony bashed his crew all the time until he became an owner and finally has to care about his reputation among a wider audience…that’s why Zippy stayed at JGR.

  • Harry Risher says:

    “Krazy K” wrecks someone almost every weekend ! You have NO RIGHT to wreck the guy in front of you PERIOD! “Krazy K” has made many enemies in the Nationwide and Cup Series with his “Wreck to WIN “philosophy—and PAT BACKS can be HELL!! I hope eveyone remembers how he wrecked them along the way !

    • Topher Jones says:

      Really? Crazy K? Are you serious? Get a clue buddy, racing is not about making friends, never has been. Brad has shown good talent, and handled himself very well with everything that has been said about him. Hamlin is a whiner, plain and friggin simple. He was just pissed he got showed up by a younger driver, and in the Nationwide series no less. If Hamlin’s pannies are in such a wad racing with “inexperienced, young drivers”, then he needs to take his happy @$$ back to the Cup level and quit tainting the JV racing series. You have a full time Cup ride, why do you go down into the lower levels, just to try and win over drivers with not as much talent. Sad, truly sad. Cup drivers being in Nationwide is a whole nuthua discussion, but, I cant hate too much when Cup drivers are in their OWN equipment (JRM, KHI, NEMCO.) But when ole Denny cant even hold his own in the lower tier series, I think he might need to take a look at himself, and quit trying to make a villian out of a young kid trying to make it. Oh, and by the way, since when did Kyle Busch and Joey Logano become the mature ones @ JGR?

  • The Rojodi says:

    Denny Hamlin was a “Claim Jumper.” Brad Keselowski is trying to win the Nationwide championship. Denny should keep his mouth in check and look at his own body of work before casting stones. Charlotte last year? Umm Denny, YOU caused a major fracus, not Mr. Keselowski.

  • [...] Phoenix this week for an appearance, Hamlin continued to tee off on Keselowski, saying he hadn’t even spoken to Jet Ski yet. “No, haven’t talked to him at [...]

  • [...] Phoenix this week for an appearance, Hamlin continued to tee off on Keselowski, saying he hadn’t even spoken to Jet Ski yet. “No, haven’t talked to him at [...]

  • gwsp3 says:

    Anyone ever notice the always vacant look in Denny’s eyes and his mouth always hanging open? He proves you certainly don’t have to be Einstein to drive a race car.

  • steve-o says:

    I have to wonder why this whining boy hasn’t won anything close to what his teammate Busch has won with the same equipment. He should just shut up and drive.

    • kayla says:

      well denny the best it just that he is … well just the best a stupid brad has to come along but you dont know how hard it is to be famous dennys the best if your not going to be nice dont say anything

  • Travis says:

    Ginger, you are right. Dimwitted Hamlin whines everytime he doesnt get his way. Remember when his whiney butt was throwing his crew under the bus every time they make a mistake, but when he was missing pitlane, hitting the wall, braking the shifter(he’s done it at least 3 times in the last year or so and nobody else has broken one) he is supprisingly quiet. Thats one reason, I like Tony so much, he will admitt it when he knows that its his fault.

  • Ginger says:

    Uh, ask Dimmy if he apologized for last years fiasco when he ruined Brad’s day. Also tell him about 90% of the media and fans are taking Brad’s side on this and laughing at Dimmy since he seems to be the one who doesn’t know how to drive since he has wrecked several cars this year and last year also. Poor baby Dimmy crys a lot when he receives what he gives.

    • yankeegranny says:

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. Hamlin is the biggest crybaby in Nascar and an expert in passing the blame elsewhere; his pit crew, his crewchief, his spotter, his car, other drivers, the track. What a baby. I can’t wait to see Brad race him next year. Love his take no prisoners attitude, He reminds me of Dale Sr. As far as talent, Brad is going to make Hamlin look like an also-ran next year. Love my Chevys, but will be pulling for Brad next year.