A NASCAR executive reaffirmed Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio the sanctioning body’s decision not to penalize Denny Hamlin for wrecking Chase Elliott in the final laps of Sunday’s Cup race at Martinsville Speedway.
Elliott led when Hamlin rammed him in the back, causing Elliott to spin and hit the wall on Lap 498 of the 505-lap race.
As they drove at reduced speed after the race, Elliott turned his car into Hamlin’s car and forced it into the wall. They both exited their cars and had a heated exchange.
Asked on “The Morning Drive” about NASCAR’s perspective of the incident during the race, Steve O’Donnell, the sanctioning body’s chief racing development officer, said:
“Certainly, what Chase was able to do in an attempt to win his first race there, I think you saw by the fans how much he has a fan base and how much everyone wants to see him win. Denny, I think, did in his mind what he needed to do and probably went too far.
“We did not make a call there. That race stands. We’re not in the business of calling an in-race penalty postrace. That was good hard racing, for the most part, all day at Martinsville.
“I think Denny might have crossed the line as he put out there on Twitter, and I thought Chase handled himself very well postrace. Showed some passion. That’s what the sport is all about. He’s got a long career ahead of him. I think he’ll be up front leading many times.’’
Asked if there was any discussion about the postrace contact Elliott made with Hamlin’s car as Hamlin’s window net was down, O’Donnell told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio:
“Not really. You’re at a short track and not at speed. … For us, that was just part of Martinsville.’’