DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — After nearly a week of tough talk, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin has backed down in his fight against NASCAR after the sanctioning body fined him $25,000 for publicly criticizing the series’ Gen-6 race car.
Hamlin, who initially said he would not pay the fine, elected not to appeal the penalty and will allow NASCAR to deduct the money from his race winnings in agreement with Section 12-3 of the NASCAR rulebook.
Hamlin announced his decision by Twitter Thursday afternoon, though, he didn’t back down from his opinion.
“After a lot of thought I have decided not to appeal the fine NASCAR has issued,” Hamlin tweeted. “Dragging myself, my team and NASCAR through the mud for the next 2 weeks would not be good for anyone. I firmly believe I am in the right on this issue and will stand behind my decision not to pay. I understand NASCAR will do what they feel is necessary based on my decision. Thanks to all of my fans and peers who have supported me in this decision. I look forward to putting it to rest.”
NASCAR issued a statement a short time later, which read:
“NASCAR announced today that the $25,000 fine assessed to driver Denny Hamlin on March 7 will be settled per Section 12-3 of the 2013 NASCAR rule book after being informed by Hamlin that he will not appeal the penalty. Hamlin was fined after the sanctioning body determined he had violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing). NASCAR considers this matter closed.”
Hamlin was fined for actions “detrimental to the sport of stock car racing,” following his comments after the second race of the season at Phoenix Int’l Raceway. Hamlin initially said he would not pay the fine, adding, “If they want to suspend me, they can suspend me.”
But after dialogue with NASCAR officials in the days since race three at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hamlin changed his mind about challenging the fine.