By admin | March 9, 2013
By Richard Allen
As has been well documentedÂ by just about every media source that covers NASCAR, Denny Hamlin was fined $25,000 by the sanctioning body following the Sprint Cup race in Phoenix last week. According to the powers that be in Daytona Beach, the driver’s remarks during his post-race interview were detrimental to the sport and deserving of punishment.
As is detailed here, Hamlin’s comments seemed quite benign but NASCAR obviously took exception to the perceived criticism of its new Gen-6 race car.
Almost immediately after the penalty became public knowledge, fans took to their favorite forms of social media to voice their opinions on the matter. And overwhelmingly, they came down on the side of the driver over the sport’s overseers.
To confirm the fan sentiment in the matter, I conducted my own highly unscientific poll on Twitter this past Friday. And just as expected, Hamlin emerged as the favorite.
In my poll, fans were asked to ‘Retweet’ the response they most agreed with. The statements were worded as follows:
1. Please RT if you think @dennyhamlin should just pay his fine and get back to work. #NASCAR
2. Please RT if you think @dennyhamlin should continue his refusal to pay his fine, even if it causes suspension. #NASCAR
The second option received 86 ‘votes’ while the first choice onlyÂ garnered six ‘votes’. And at least one of those who indicated favor for the first option said she had done so only because getting suspended would ruin Hamlin’s chances of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Many who went further than to simply ‘Retweet’ expressed their belief that the fine was a serious overreaction by NASCAR. It seemed to many that NASCAR had made a proverbial ‘mountain out of a mole hill’. Several also pointed out that they were not fans of Hamlin but were taking his side nonetheless.
This perceived overreaction comes just days after NASCAR was accused by many of the very same type of public relations gaffe regarding the suspension of Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements after he used a racially insensitive word during what amounted to little more than a private conversation with a reporter from MTV and a NASCAR representative. In that case, they took an incident that was never planned to be reported by anyone and made a national spectacle of it. The little known driver was suddenly the topic of news reports on sports and non-sports broadcasts all over the country.
Hamlin still has the option to appeal his fine, which he likely will. If NASCAR is smart, they will use that opportunity to make this situation go away as quietly as possible, but…
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