Denny Hamlin isn't crazy about the new NASCAR Gen 6 cars. Well, actually, that's a bit strong. Based on our readings of his statements following the March 3 race at Phoenix International Raceway, Hamlin simply thinks that the new NASCAR racecar has got some growing to do before it's as polished at the outgoing Gen 5 cars were. Here's what the Toyota driver said:

"We learned a lot. I don't want to be the pessimist, but it did not race as good as our Generation 5 cars. This is more like what the Generation 5 was at the beginning. The teams hadn't figured out how to get the aero balance right. Right now, you just run single-file and you cannot get around the guy in front of you."

That rather mild criticism of the Gen 6 (appearing in its second only race thus far) car has been enough, however, to cause NASCAR to issue Hamlin a $25,000 fine. The organization said that it gives its drivers "ample leeway" to voice their opinions but, "will not tolerate publicly made comments by its drivers that denigrate the racing product."

Hamlin, who races for Joe Gibbs Racing – and drove the Gen 6 Toyota Camry from a 43rd-place start to a 3rd-place finish in Phoenix, by the way – is incensed that NASCAR officials didn't reach out or attempt to have a conversation with him before issuing the fine. He has appealed the official decision, and vowed not to pay the twenty-five large.

Tweeted Hamlin on the issue: "I believe I was severely disrespected by NASCAR by getting fined. I believe that the simple fact of us not even having a conversation about this issue before I was hit with a fine has something to say about our relationship." We'll wait and see how this stand off at the stock car corral plays out.

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Gotta make up the difference from them unsold tickets somehow.
      • 2 Years Ago
      $25k for \"it did not race as good as our Generation 5 cars\"? Talk about thin skin
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm not a fan of Hamlin, but I agree with him. He said nothing that was punishable. NASCAR needs to wake up, viewers and sales are diminishing for a reason, poor racing and limp wristed personalities.
      John Ward
      • 2 Years Ago
      That comment actually seemed really professional.
        P.F. Bruns
        • 2 Years Ago
        @John Ward
        I wouldn't have fined him. Fining him for such a mild and honestly constructive criticism makes it look (with some accuracy, no doubt) like NASCAR is unable to tolerate any criticism. That hurts "the racing product" far more than the comment. If anything, Hamlin should have rephrased the comment to make it look a little less like his crew was to blame, since he was also in essence saying that his crew wasn't able to optimize the new car as well as other crews, because...well, he was not as fast. So I don't think the organization should have fined him. NASCAR is technically with in its contractual right to do so, but that doesn't mean it's right to do so.
      • 2 Years Ago
      NASCAR "will not tolerate publicly made comments by its drivers that denigrate the racing product." This pretty much sums up what has become of a series that used to sanction stock car racing. There was a time when you could watch virtually stock cars race against each other. The used to verify that the cars met the manufacturer's spec. Now it is a circus roadshow where the cars are no longer the focus of interest. Now its all about creating drama in the action, not racing cars. Unfortunately, NASCAR is not the only guilty party. Every major sanctioning body has degraded the sport.
      • 2 Years Ago
      If I was Hamlin I'd be asking if I could alter my statement to put something offensive in there to justify the 25k fine. He gave a critique for crying outloud and didn't even swear in doing it. Now if he did swear and stuff then ok fine him and it will teach him all this does is send a message to other drivers "Tow the Company Line or be fined!".
      • 2 Years Ago
      NASCAR is no more low-brow than Australian Touring Cars, but the management is the problem. Going to races is fun for the average person, even people like myself that couldn't name more than maybe five current drivers. I was a fan back in the '90s when they raced real cars, but that changed when they started having sponsored tracks and picked drivers based off of them being whiny kids. Hamlin is totally in the right here, because if it was the mid '90s and Earnhardt told them their car sucks and they can stuff it up their ass on national TV they wouldn't have done anything to him.
        • 2 Years Ago
        90's? and real cars? WTF are you talking about? Its those 90's pos that i hated Nascar for. Its those 90's cars that made nascar the running joke of motorsport.
          • 2 Years Ago
          Sorry, '80s. Hell, I have a '80s "NASCAR" in my '87 SS and still got it wrong. After 1987 it all went to Hell.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm with him. Nascar is out of line on this.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Oddly enough NASCAR is completely happy with cars being in a line though.
      • 2 Years Ago
      So he's getting charged for saying that the new cars are having natural teething issues, like every new chassis does? There's got to be more to it than this. I'm guessing he must have pissed someone off and they're using this as a (very thin) cover to take a stab at him.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Please go back to STOCK CARS !!!
      Just Me
      • 2 Years Ago
      $25k for that? Imagine if he had actually said something critical that everyone didn't already know and agree with.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well if he's going to pay the fine then I suggest he does it how Rusty Wallace did it back in '97 after NASCAR stole the Martinsville win from him for apparently jumping the green flag. Anyways, he wasn't overly pleased about the decision and called it BS, so NASCAR fined him $10,000 and Rusty paid it all in coins. More serious note, in '98 Dale Earnhardt said that Bill France Sr. was probably over turning over in his grave following the sorriest racing at Daytona during the Gatorade 125's. NASCAR didn't fine him then. I see lots of prima donna, "who? me? naww" behavior from NASCAR and they're alienating fans on regular basis.
    • Load More Comments