Denny Hamlin hit out at Chase Briscoe for his lack of awareness in costing Hamlin his first Cup Series win of the 2021 season.
Hamlin was destined to win the inaugural NASCAR Cup race on the Indy Road Course. He was leading when the race entered Turn 1 of the second overtime while Briscoe followed him.
In an attempt to overtake Hamlin, Briscoe ran off the course and came back again, for which he was issued a ‘stop-and-go’ penalty. This meant that he was out of contention to win the race. Without realizing this, Briscoe continued to push for the lead and hit Hamlin and spun his car. As a result, Hamlin lost his lead and is still looking for his first win of the season.
“I got hit by (Allmendinger) going into the (Turn 1) corner, Hamlin said. “He shoved me out. Then I shoved him to the right and then (Briscoe) cut the track and took the lead for a second there,” Hamlin said. “I thought we were probably in good shape there, but this just turns everything upside down.”
Briscoe said that he didn’t know about the penalty and would not have done the move had he known it. When asked about Briscoe’s explanation, Hamlin said:
“I agree it’s not on purpose, but my team told me that he had a penalty right away and to me, it’s obvious. If you cut the race track and end up in the lead, you’re going to have a penalty.
“Lack of awareness. Race me for a lap. He went right in the back of me. I mean. You can’t race that way. I don’t think he did it malicious. I’ve raced with him for a year now. He’s not that kind of person, just bad judgement.”
The race not only cost Hamlin a win but also points in the race for the regular-season champion. His 23rd placed finish means that now he trails Kyle Larson by 22 points.