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Denny Hamlin vs Ryan Blaney: Who Was Right?

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Joshua Lipowski

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Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney found themselves racing each other late at Homestead-Miami. Ryan Blaney was unhappy with how Hamlin raced him, and Blaney let his team know about it on the radio along with calling Hamlin a “Hack” post-race.

The question is, was Blaney right to be mad at Hamlin, or was Hamlin justified in his late-race maneuvers? Before we look at what both sides had to say on the matter, here is the incident in question.

Ryan Blaney’s Side

Ryan Blaney seemed to feel that Hamlin used him up on that late restart. This restart resulted in Blaney losing the lead and falling all the way back to fourth.

If you’re going to slide somebody, slide somebody, commit. Don’t halfway do it and use me up.

Ryan Blaney

Now, it is obvious from this clip that Hamlin and Blaney racing each other hurt both more than it helped. As a result of how close Hamlin was to Blaney throughout the first two laps following that restart, they fell from the top two back to third and fourth. It is also obvious that Hamlin was specifically remaining close to Blaney throughout the corners.

With the lack of room given on a track as wide as Homestead-Miami, it is understandable why Blaney would be upset. He was squeezed and used up by the same driver, and it cost him the lead. This all came during the Playoffs when a win means a shot at a Championship in two weeks.

Denny Hamlin’s Side

Denny Hamlin had a slightly different perspective, and, it does not seem that Hamlin believes he did anything wrong. To him, it seems he was just racing for the win, and things did not end up well for either of them. Then again, Hamlin did have a mechanical failure to end his day a few laps later, so, it did not affect his day as much as it did Blaney’s.

If I didn’t get clear, like I didn’t, off of turn two I knew it was going to be tough to hold it, and, unfortunately, we just go split there and that was it.

Denny Hamlin

To Hamlin, it was just hard racing that went wrong. Now, it is understandable why Hamlin would think that because there was no lasting damage done to Blaney’s car. It’s not like Hamlin just wrecked Blaney intentionally. This race is also equally as important to Hamlin as it is to Blaney because of both being in the Playoffs.

Is Hamlin supposed to just lay back and let Blaney have the spot? What if Hamlin missed out on the Championship 4 by just one point? Every point matters, and every win matters. Hamlin has to race as hard as possible.

Who Was Right?

At the end of the day, this is what happens in racing. Your opinion on the matter often depends on whether or not you were the one being bumped or moved, or if you were the one doing the bumping and moving.

Blaney is understandably frustrated at a difficult result, and Hamlin did not give him much room to work with. Hamlin has a right to the race track just as much as Blaney, and Hamlin also is racing for a lot on his own. They both felt they were trying to do what was best for them at one time.

Hamlin also has a reputation for being a very aggressive driver, so, when things like this happen, he will not get the benefit of the doubt. Who was right ultimately? Well, things tend to work out in the racing world.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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