NASCAR fines and other penalties for driver who voice opinions NASCAR isn’t happy about haven’t been all that rare in recent years, and some are understandable for various reasons. Jeremy Clements suspended for a racial slur uttered to an MTV writer — understandable. Dale Earnhardt Jr. fined for letting a curse word slip while celebrating in victory lane — understandable because young ears are listening. But a few others over the last couple of years or so I’m not quite so sure about.
Ryan Newman spoke up about “phantom” cautions a few years ago and was slapped with a fine. Later, now-Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski was slapped with a fine for critical comments about the electronic fuel injection system that was, at the time, still in its testing stages.
NASCAR may not have agreed with their opinions, but fines for simply voicing those opinions? Really?
As far as I know, Newman and Keselowski sucked it up and paid the fine. Denny Hamlin, though, says he’s not giving in.
Hamlin was handed down a $25,000 fine earlier this week for negative comments he made about the new Gen-6 car following last weekend’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Okay, so Hamlin doesn’t like the new car? Is that so horrible? I think I remember Kyle Busch proclaiming that the COT (car of tomorrow) sucked during a victory lane interview after winning the first race in the car at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway a few years back.
Anyway, Hamlin is standing his crown. Soon after NASCAR announced the fine, Hamlin proclaimed that he wouldn’t pay it, going so far as to say that he’d rather sit out a race than pay the fine.
Fellow-driver Jeff Burton was among those asked about Hamlin’s fine. He said he felt it was a little extreme, but he also commented that NASCAR was more liberal that other sports when it comes to competitor fines for comments. Of course he also joked about using the words “liberal” and “NASCAR” in the same sentence.
Liberal or not compared to other sports, I understand punishments for public curse words and other offensive speech like racial slurs, but just for giving an opinion that just happens to be critical of something in sport? I think that may be just a little much.
Below, is Burton’s two cents regarding the fine. Better watch it Burton, you probably don’t want your bank account to be $25,000 smaller.
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