DOVER, Del. — Denny Hamlin was blunt. Clint Bowyer cussed.
An incident between the two Toyota drivers late in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race ruined what would have a strong finish for Hamlin and left him with a 21st-place finish.
“A bad day,’’ Hamlin said after Bowyer apologized for their incident.
Hamlin, who started on the pole and led 118 laps, had been running in the top five before contact from behind by Bowyer caused Hamlin to wreck 19 laps before the finish.
“Damn it,’’ Bowyer said on his radio after the incident. “I barely clipped him. Son of a …’’
After the race, Bowyer said: “Obviously, I didn’t mean to get into him. I kind of slipped up, and he slipped up. To be honest, I thought I was clear and barely clipped him.’’
Even so, Hamlin was left to wonder what might have been.
“Well, we were on those new tires, and I thought we were going to really make some hay,’’ Hamlin said. “We got clear of (Bowyer) … I thought we were going to make a run at it. We never even got a corner through before we got turned around. Disappointed, but we really didn’t have a winning car there at the end of the race.”
Hamlin said that the Joe Gibbs Racing cars still have some work to do.
“Our cars fade in the middle of the race it seems like,’’ he said. “We had some good raw speed while the track is clean, but it seems like our cars – they were fifth-place cars for the most part. (Matt Kenseth), (Kyle Busch), those guys got a little better at certain points of the race, but I still think we have work to do. We’re not the best organization. We’re not the fastest cars by any means right now.”