DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Danica Patrick climbed out of her battered No. 10 Chevrolet, waded through a throng of news media and made a beeline toward Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota at Daytona International Speedway.
Hamlin met her halfway, and they spent the next 2 minutes attempting to hash out the wreck that nearly knocked Patrick from the Daytona 500.
Here’s how the conversation went after beginning with Patrick (who crashed in practice Wednesday after a similar incident with Hamlin) grabbing Hamlin’s firesuit with both hands:
Patrick: Seriously! You did the same (expletive) thing in practice. You did the same thing.
Hamlin: I didn’t hit you. Honey, I did not touch you.
Patrick: You get on my left rear and spin me out. You did the same thing.
Hamlin: You’ve got to tighten it up, Danica.
Patrick: Tighten what up? Nobody else left me with a problem.
Hamlin: Listen, listen to me. Nobody has your back like I have you.
Patrick: I would have thought so, Denny. I would have thought so.
Hamlin: Stop! Now listen to me. Listen to me. But I can’t give you an extra 2 feet because it’s you.
Patrick: Dude, you give me nothing. You give me nothing. It spun my back end around.
Hamlin: I understand. It’s because you’re loose. It’s not my problem if you’re loose, Danica.
Patrick: Nobody else did it to me.
Hamlin: Nobody else is getting close to you. But we have to get close to you to get you going forward. I have to get close to you. I know it got you loose. But I didn’t hit you, Danica.
Patrick: No, it spun me out. Just like in practice. And I looked in my rear-view mirror, and you were right here (gestures closely)
Hamlin: You were loose entering the corner, so you went up the ractetrack.
Patrick: Because you were … Denny. It happened twice, the same person, the same way.
Hamlin: But guess what I didn’t hit you either time. I didn’t hit you either time.
Patrick: Well then apparently, you don’t have to actually hit me. I like you, Denny. You’re my friend.
Hamlin: I know, you’re my friend. I get it.
Patrick: I don’t understand.
Hamlin: I get it, but it does it mean like, ‘Oh my God, she’s loose, I can’t run next to her.’ What should I do?
Patrick: It just means don’t be up my ass on my left corner.
Hamlin: So don’t get close to you with three laps to go?
Patrick: You did it on the straightaway and then you did it in the corner that time. But you don’t need to turn me. That’s what it did.
Hamlin: I know it did.
Patrick: All it did was get my back end light, then it went around.
Hamlin: I totally get it, but it’s something you all have to work on.
Patrick: Are you doing that with every other car?
Hamlin: I pushed the 78 in the corner. He knew …
Tony Stewart: That’s two this week, bud.
Hamlin: Tony, I never touched her. I never touched her. What do you want me to do, not run close?
Stewart: You need to watch the video of it.
Hamlin: Do you not want me to run close?
Patrick: You just don’t need to get so close that it turns me!
Hamlin: No, come on man. I’m friends with you and her. Stop the shit, man. Come on.
At that point, Hamlin walked away but eventually circled back to Patrick’s car and had a calmer conversation with Stewart, ending with the drivers exchanging amiable pats on the arm.
About an hour later, Hamlin seemed to put the incident to rest by taking the blame on Twitter.