Denny Hamlin reflects on Kobe Bryant and being a #GirlDad

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Defending Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin never met the late Kobe Bryant, but he can certainly relate to him, particularly with each of them being the father of daughters (Bryant had four and Hamlin has two).

Hamlin stopped by to chat with Nate Ryan for next week’s NASCAR on NBC Podcast and spoke about how he learned that Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gigi, along with seven others, were killed this past Sunday when the helicopter they were all riding in crashed into a hillside northwest of Los Angeles.

“Like most people, probably the way you shouldn’t,” Hamlin replied when asked how he first heard of the tragic news. “I logged on social media literally like 50 seconds after TMZ posted it. And of course the link was broken because either people were all clicking on it or (TMZ) was told to take it down.

“Immediately, I messaged my friends and sent them a link, and said, ‘This can’t be true.’ We waited for like 15 minutes and no other news outlet is saying anything because this was so fresh. Until I saw it on the local news in California, then I was like, ‘OK, this is real.’

“My first thought when they said five (people were killed), I said, ‘Oh no, it’s the whole (Bryant) family, right?’ It’s terrible it involved him and his daughter and whatnot. And when you think about it from his family standpoint, his wife and kids, gosh, it’s hard enough to lose your husband but what about your kid, too. Or you just lost a sister and your dad. I can’t remember a death that united so many people over these last 48 hours.”

Since Bryant’s death, the hashtag “#GirlDad” has become somewhat of a rallying cry of support to the Bryant family, particularly from fathers who also are so proud of their own daughters and how much they mean to them.

“I could totally see Kobe doing that,” Hamlin said. “I’ve never met Kobe but you’d seen enough interviews and heard him talk about people enough and I agree with him that I’m a girl dad. I love my daughters. They’re the ones that are going to take care of you.

“Your sons, they’re going to be like, ‘Ah, dad, whatever.’ You see women, when they grow up, always have that special bond with their dad. I have it with my kids for sure and it’s certainly special to have girls.”

Hamlin then added with a chuckle, “Even though, admittedly, I’ve wanted boys every time, I’m so happy with the girls I have. They’ve just been such great kids.”

Hamlin has two daughters: Taylor, who just turned 7 last week, and 2-year-old Molly.

Hamlin talked about Taylor and last week’s birthday party – and how she kind of reminds him of someone he knows quite well:

“She’s so funny and so full of energy,” Hamlin said of Taylor. “She’s not shy about anything which makes it always fun for kids that age and aren’t shy. Didn’t they have a show ‘Kids Say the Darndest Things’? She does.

“She likes to have the attention on her. I was at her birthday dinner one night with my brothers and sisters and parents and she’s running around and is so excited. I said, ‘This is so impossible for someone to have this much energy.’

“My brothers and sisters said, ‘What are you talking about? You were worse than her.’ Molly is such the opposite, totally low-key, totally independent. She has so much energy. I look back at old videos of me and, yeah, I was the same way. Something clicked where I became more reserved and more quiet and whatnot. Molly resembles the later version of me, for sure.”

Hear the rest of the NASCAR On NBC Podcast with Hamlin and Ryan when it is released early next week wherever you get podcasts. Hamlin also discusses his 2019 Daytona 500 victory, his new iRacing team with Michael Jordan and the 2020 free agency class.

NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin


NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Hamlin forced Elliott toward the wall. Elliott’s car slapped the wall. Elliott then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Xfinity points after Charlotte

Justin Allgaier wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won a fuel-mileage gamble to win Monday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allgaier stretched his fuel to outlast second-place John Hunter Nemechek. Following in the top five were Cole Custer, Austin Hill and Ty Gibbs.

The victory was Allgaier’s first of the year and the first of the season for JR Motorsports. He has 20 career wins.

MORE: Charlotte Xfinity results

After a long day at CMS, the race ended at 11:25 p.m. The race started Monday morning but was stopped twice because of weather before it was halted with 48 of 200 laps completed so that the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race could be run.

When the race was stopped, Gibbs, Nemechek and Allgaier were in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first two stages.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Justin Allgaier has had good cars in previous races but finally cashed in with a win Monday. He led 83 laps. … John Hunter Nemechek, in second, scored his fifth top-two run of the season. … Cole Custer scored his sixth straight top-10 finish. … Ty Gibbs lasted 900 miles for the day and led 52 laps in the Xfinity race.

Who had a bad race: Sam Mayer was running 10th when he spun off Turn 2. He finished 35th. … Sheldon Creed finished three laps down in 28th.

Next: The series moves on to Portland International Raceway in Oregon for a 4:30 p.m. ET race June 3.