DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Are you accepting his (Chase Briscoe) explanation?
“I agree it’s not on purpose, but my team told me that he had a penalty right away and to me, it’s obvious. If you cut the racetrack and end up in the lead, you’re going to have a penalty. Lack of awareness. Race me for a lap. He went right in the back of me. We can’t race that way. I don’t think he did it malicious. I’ve raced with him for a year now. He’s not that kind of person, just bad judgement.”
How would you describe the racing going into turn one? Everybody going for it.
“Yeah, no doubt. I got hit by the 16 (AJ Allmendinger) going into the corner. He shoved me out. Then I shoved him to the right and then the 14 (Chase Briscoe) cut the track and took the lead for a second there. I thought we were probably in good shape there, but this just turns everything upside down.”
— Toyota Racing —
CHASE BRISCOE, No. 14 Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang — FINISHED 26th
“There at the restart, everybody is trying to out-brake each other getting into one and we all kind of missed it to a certain extent. I was getting ran wide and had nowhere else to go. I knew I was going to go through the grass. It was just a matter of do you go through it slow or gas it wide-open and hope you get through it. I don’t know if there would have been a penalty if I had gone through it slow but that was my only chance to win the race at that point. I went for that and stayed on him tight and knew the16 was right behind me. He was on newer tires. A lot of guys were getting lazy through that turn and would just swing it out wide and leave the bottom wide open. So I was kind of all over him (Hamlin) in the esses and when I went to go underneath him I just clipped him in the right rear. He was already trying to get back to the left so it just turned him right around. It is unfortunate for them. They were probably going to win the race if the 16 didn’t get to him. For us we got a penalty and I don’t even know where we finished. It is frustrating to be that close. You can taste it and imagine what it would be like and then it gets taken away. I have a lot to be proud of. I feel like I showed that I belong here and I will get another chance next year.”
YOU AND DENNY HAD A CONVERSATION, DO YOU FEEL LIKE HE UNDERSTANDS YOUR SIDE OF THINGS? “I don’t know. At first, I didn’t know if I was getting anywhere. Once I explained to him that I didn’t even know I had a penalty until I got to Turn 10. If I knew I had a penalty, there was no need for me to even try to pass him for the win. If I would have known that earlier, I would have done my stop and go and went on. As I understood it, at that moment in time I could still win the race and I was going for it and got into him accidentally. I think at the end he kind of started to understand. He has been there when you are trying to get your first win and especially in our playoff situation, you have to do what you have to do. That is what I get paid to do and that is what I was trying to do.”
HOW ABOUT THE EMOTIONS OF BEING POISED FOR POSSIBLE VICTORY DURING THOSE RED FLAG STOPS? “We had a lot of time to sit there and think about it with all those reds and everything else. I kept running things through my head. I felt like my best opportunity was to be that second row inside. When you are on the outside of one, everybody drives in there and misses it and you just get driven off the race track. I knew it was going to be hard for me to win the race from the front row. I knew if I could maintain somewhat beside him I would have the advantage through two but it didn’t work out that way. The emotions are tough when you sit there and feelo like you can get the win. Early in the race it felt like we were the car to beat and then we swung the other way and were down in the dumps and then at the end you have a shot again. It is unfortunate but we still have two races left to try to do it.”
— Ford Performance —