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Denny Hamlin Stops Short of Calling for Driver’s Union, But Says, “We need to lock arms better”

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What’s Happening?

Amid intense charter negotiations, tension between NASCAR and the race teams is as high as ever. One such suggestion that a listener asked Denny Hamlin on a recent episode of “Actions Detrimental” was about forming a “Driver’s Union” similar to other sports. However, Hamlin isn’t sure a Union is the best way to go about it, and past NASCAR history lends credence to that.

  • NASCAR drivers have attempted to form a “Driver’s Union” before, and the results were disastrous. Since then, drivers have not attempted to form one.
  • Hamlin discusses just how difficult it would be to form a Union. However, Hamlin wants drivers and team owners to gain more influence in the sport.
  • Fans have sometimes considered the possibility of drivers forming some sort of Union. However, it hasn’t come to fruition, and it’s understandable why.

What Denny Hamlin Had to Say

There’s a ton of antitrust when it comes down to that, and nobody is here saying that NASCAR teams need or should unionize, but, we wish we had more a bigger seat at the table when it comes to, doing the next media deal, or doing any future Revenue stuff, growing the sport. I mean we need to lock arms better than what we’re doing.

Denny Hamlin

Essentially, a union is very difficult to establish. It requires a lot of legal work and does not happen overnight.

It’s also worth noting that past attempts to form a NASCAR Union have not ended well. Most famously, in 1961, Curtis Turner attempted to form one, and he was eventually banned from the sport for life, although he was reinstated four years later in 1965.

In 1969, the Professional Driver’s Association was formed and played a large role in the fiasco that was the first race at Talladega. Drivers who were a part of the PDA walked out of the race over safety concerns at the new track. While technically not a union, they acted similarly to one, but the association quickly dissolved afterward.

Granted, these are old scenarios, but they showcase why NASCAR Unions don’t exist today. The video below covers both instances.

However, Hamlin admits that he wants to see the teams work together better. He feels the teams deserve a larger say in major NASCAR decisions, a major pillar of these charter negotiations. Teams want more money and more influence, and Hamlin is not convinced NASCAR has allowed that.

I hear NASCAR saying all the time ‘we’re going to be more collaborative’, and they never are. It’s always what is best for their end of the deal, and then we get what is what they tell us we’re going to get and that doesn’t seem necessarily Fair. But, it’s been the way it’s been for a long time, and you’ve had a lot of owners that have been in the sport a long time that have accepted that.

Denny Hamlin

To accomplish this, Hamlin believes the teams need to work together to get what they want from NASCAR. He stopped short of asking for a Union, but he believes a change should be made. However, Hamlin also reiterates that everyone has the same goal, to grow NASCAR, even if it takes some convincing.

I don’t know that we need that seismic of a change in our sport, but we certainly need something for us to legitimately lock arms and do things together better than what we are currently. Hopefully by the end of this Charter agreement that gets done, what we hope by the end of the year, we’re in a better place to do all that. And that’s what the goal is. All of us, all the stakeholders want to grow this sport, make it bigger than what it is, and until we all work together to do that it will stay with its feet stuck in the mud. But, you’re going to have to go convince a person to change the way that they’ve done things for 75 years and good luck with that.

Denny Hamlin

While a “Driver’s Union” seems incredibly unlikely for now, Hamlin wants to see more collaboration amongst the team owners as they work with NASCAR to grow the sport. What do you think about all this? Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

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