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Denny Hamlin vs Marcus Smith: Fans React, Smith Issues a Statement

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

On Thursday night, Denny Hamlin and Marcus Smith got into a feud on social media over issues on the recent repave at Sonoma Raceway. The two went back and forth multiple times in the now-deleted thread. Marcus Smith put out a statement on Friday morning, explaining, amongst other things, that he “Shouldn’t let social media conversations get personal”. What led to this statement and walkback from Marcus Smith?

  • Marcus Smith is the President and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Incorporated (SMI), which owns a variety of NASCAR tracks including Sonoma. The company was founded by his father, Bruton Smith, who started the company by building Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1960 before buying out multiple other tracks throughout the 1990s and 2000s.
  • Denny Hamlin is one of the most outspoken drivers and owners in NASCAR. He drives No. 11 car for Joe Gibbs Racing, and he also co-owns 23XI Racing alongside Michael Jordan. Hamlin was the one to stoke the flames of this argument by criticizing the recent Sonoma repave.
  • Fans were surprised and entertained by this feud. They generally felt that Hamlin got the better of Smith as far as the insults go.

***Denny Hamlin has now released his own statement, saying that the posts got “Too personal.”

The Feud

This all started due to a recent test of the new pavement at Sonoma Raceway. Various road racing series were testing there on Thursday, when sections of the pavement started to break apart, prompting Hamlin to write the following post, saying, “When paving on a budget goes wrong. NWB will be next.”

Denny Hamlin is one of the most outspoken drivers in NASCAR, and he has been critical of SMI repaving practices in the past. Most recently he cautioned SMI against simply repaving North Wilkesboro Speedway, encouraging the company to get more creative following the All-Star Race in 2023.

However, Hamlin is by no means a repave expert, so, Marcus Smith chimed back with a couple of posts. He defended the job those at the track did while also encouraging the “Ignorant” Hamlin to call to get more information, which started the feud.

The posts have now been deleted, but, below are some screenshots that Jeff Gluck saved.

Denny Hamlin then responded back by calling out the multiple failed reconfigurations of SMI in recent years. Examples of this include the 2005 Charlotte repave which caused multiple tire failures, progressive banking at Bristol in 2007, the Kentucky 2016 reconfiguration which caused bad racing with the track no longer existing, Texas in 2017, which the track is still dealing with, and Atlanta in 2022. Of all of those reconfigurations, Atlanta is the only one that can be seen as somewhat of a success, plus the retcon of Bristol in 2012.

To which the two started a short back and forth, with Smith calling out Hamlin for never winning a Championship multiple times. Perhaps the knockout blow from Hamlin’s perspective was telling Smith to “Let someone else run your business before you blow everything your dad gave you”. Smith responded to that by saying he was “Proud” of his dad, and that Hamlin just needs to “Keep working at it” to win a Championship.

With that, the feud concluded, and Smith put out the other statement this morning. Denny Hamlin also put out a Tweet this morning, alluding to another joke he made earlier this week surrounding his controversial restart at Richmond.

In the Stands

Fans had an absolute field day with this feud, and here are some of the best responses.

I think Eric speaks for all of us.

DarrenIronLion was on Denny Hamlin’s side regardless of what was said.

Mike J. Sanfilippo claims “Nepotism” turned SMI down a bad path.

Jett MDK loved that he had some extra drama.

MzVicky enjoyed the feud

Spicy indeed Allentown1711.

Brian believes Denny Hamlin won the feud, and this was his response to Marcus Smith’s statement.

Alex Kerner believes that Marcus Smith won the battle.

Oh yes it will Miguel Alejandro Jaramillo Serna

No, it doesn’t Dog Dad The Pilot, no it does not.

Army Air Force Exchange Veterans Desktop

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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