Denny Hamlin’s penchant for pushing the accelerator too much in the pits recently earned “a sitdown with the boss.”
On the NASCAR on NBC Podcast, Hamlin said team owner Joe Gibbs recently admonished him for accumulating four speeding penalties through the first 10 races of the season.
“I think he’s offended a little bit when they kind of make jokes on TV about it,” Hamlin said with a laugh about the meeting with Gibbs. “He’s like, ‘This is not a joking matter. This is costing you finishes.’
“It’s amazing we’ve had the finishes we’ve had with the penalties we’ve had. I think if we can just tighten things up a little bit. Honestly, we have not had many mistake-free races this year. I think once I have a race where there’s nothing going on that doesn’t set me to the back of the pack, middle of the race, results are going to show a lot better.”
Hamlin was caught for speeding at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and twice at Talladega Superspeedway. Each penalty occurred on entry to the pits.
The No. 11 Toyota driver said that’s been a consistency in his long history of getting caught for speeding.
“Most of our penalties has been entering the pits,” Hamlin said. “There’s so much data out there, I’m learning from it and trying to get better at it.”
One method for improvement is trying to understand how much reward and risk there is within the system used by drivers to stay under the limit. Cars don’t have speedometers, so a system of lights helps indicate when they are near the limit.
“Being more informed of that extra light, what does that amount to in feet,” Hamlin said. “Tell me is it a car length? Two feet? That will help manage my risk as well.”