Denny Hamlin wasn’t going to let Alex Bowman have his burnout moment at the end of the NASCAR Cup Series playoff race Sunday at Martinsville. Certainly not after what happened with seven laps to go.
As Hamlin led Bowman by less than a tenth of a second with seven to go, Bowman bumped into the back of the 11 car, causing Hamlin to spin out and hit the wall and bring out a caution flag. Bowman went on to win the race while Hamlin finished 24th.
As Bowman was getting ready to celebrate the win, Hamlin pulled over to stop Bowman from excecuting a burnout at the start-finish line.
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“He’s just a hack. Just an absolute hack,” Hamlin said after the race. “He gets his ass kicked by his (Hendrick Motorsports) teammates every week, and just, he’s f—ing terrible. He’s just terrible and he sees one opportunity and he takes it, but obviously he’s got the fastest car every week and runs 10th so he didn’t want to race us there.
“We had a good, clean race. I moved up as high as I could on the race track to give him all the room I could, and he still can’t drive.”
Bowman — who has four wins this season to Hanlin’s two — said after the race that he didn’t want to crash anybody and that he hated that he wrecked Hamlin.
“I literally gave up the lead at Martinsville. He’s been on the other side of that. He’s crashed guys here for wins,” Bowman said. “I just got in, got loose underneath him and spun him out.
“Regardless, we get a friggin’ grandfather clock (the trophy for the winner at Martinsville). It’s pretty special. I’ve struggled here for a long time. I was trying to get the flag, do a backwards victory lap. (Former driver) Mark Martin thinks that’s cool. Mark Martin is like my hero.”
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Bowman perhaps also took a parting shot at Hamlin in his postrace interview, saying that while the hit was “unintentional,” it was “part of short-track racing.”
After a 2019 race at Martinsville, Hamlin and Joey Logano got into a scuffle after exchanging words. During the race, Hamlin ran Logano into a wall, which cut one of his tires. Logano, who was racing for the win, placed eighth after the incident, while Hamlin placed fourth.
During his postrace interview with NBC Sports, Hamlin mocked Logano with an impression, saying, “He would probably say, ‘Eh, short-track racing.'”
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Even with the 24th-place finish, Hamlin made it to the Championship 4 as the fourth driver, joining Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. They’ll race for a championship at Phoenix Raceway next Sunday.