‘True Truth’ To Be A Casualty Of Hamlin’s Penalty?
By Rick Minter | Senior Writer
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Denny Hamlin declared a victory of sorts over NASCAR in his first session with the media since it was revealed that he wouldn’t appeal his $25,000 fine for his comments about the racing at Phoenix International Raceway and that NASCAR would deduct the fine from his future winnings.
But, as Hamlin’s answers indicate, the real losers in the deal are the people who follow NASCAR, including media members and fans. Although Hamlin said the settling of his situation “let NASCAR get its credibility back” that remains to be seen.
He said that it’s going to be tough to find out what’s really going through the minds of drivers, especially in light of his penalty and others imposed on drivers in recent seasons.
“Everyone wants to stay on NASCAR’s good side and so that ultimately plays a lot of what you hear in interviews — 90 percent of what you hear on a weekly basis is just guys that are trying to stay on NASCAR’s good side,” he said. “There’s very few that really give the honest and true truth.”
Hamlin indicated that he might be among the 90 percent going forward.
“I think as long as I can give 100 percent honest answer and not get in trouble then I will answer the question,” he said. “If I know my answer could have repercussions, I will just refer to no comment.”
On top of that, the powers that be have begun limiting the number of drivers who make regular appearances in the media center, one of the few places at the race track where an orderly interview can be conducted.
Many drivers and teams instead prefer a session with the media “behind the hauler” where reporters try to worm their way through the confines just to get in position to ask a question in an atmosphere so noisy only a handful can hear the questions or the answers.
It really isn’t as much a media issue as a fan issue.
Ultimately the people who pay the bills will decide whether being spoon fed the company line week after week is acceptable or not.
– Rick Minter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments