On a late restart at Pocono Raceway, Hamlin stuffed race chief Kyle Larson into the surface wall, then held on for the win after Ryan Preece spun on the ultimate lap, which ended the race underneath warning. The followers made certain their voices were heard.
It is the newest in a protracted line of sticky conditions each on and off the race track involving Hamlin, who is likely one of the most unpopular drivers within the NASCAR Cup Collection. He is gained two races in 2023, and each of them have come by means of wrecking the identical driver, Larson, for the win.
Hamlin did the identical factor at Pocono final season, putting Ross Chastain into the wall whereas racing for the lead late within the going. This explicit incident was probably payback for what had been an ongoing feud between Hamlin and Chastain, and Hamlin went on to win the race… till he was disqualified for failing post-race inspection.
There have additionally been events through which Hamlin has ended up on the unsuitable aspect of a late-race duel, corresponding to Martinsville in 2021 when Alex Bowman spun him whereas battling for the win. On such events, he has tended to not react very well.
Going again to 2017, when he spun Chase Elliott for the lead at Martinsville, Hamlin has embraced the function of certainly one of NASCAR’s most prolific villains. NASCAR has all the time relied on controversial personalities to attract followers into its leisure product, and there may be nothing unsuitable with that.
Nevertheless, it is greater than comprehensible how Hamlin’s blatant hypocrisy rubs many the unsuitable method, and that is solely the newest instance. He claimed after the race that he was to not blame for the contact, which clearly wasn’t true, and it is arduous to consider he’d be singing the identical tune had he been the one put within the wall.
When drivers like Dale Earnhardt, Sr., Tony Stewart, and Kyle and Kurt Busch wore NASCAR’s black hat, they proudly owned their controversial ways. Hamlin as a substitute acts as if he’s by no means within the unsuitable, and the boos he was serenaded with on Sunday have been way more deserved than his end result was.