Following contact during the second Budweiser Duel, Danica Patrick and Denny Hamlin would trade words on pit road.
With approximately four laps to go, Denny Hamlin tried to give Patrick a bump from behind going into the corner, turning her down across Brian Scott’s nose. Patrick underwent numerous repairs on pit road before returning to the speedway and drafting her way to a 10th place finish.
“I’m all about doing the right thing, but he said he needs to run close to move forward. Well you are turning me and it happened in practice too when he cut across my rear bumper. It pulls the back end around,” she commented afterwards. “That is why it looked like I tracked down, but I was just going down the straightaway. Here we are in the race and I’m seeing him in my mirror and he’s so tucked up underneath me, so close. I get being close, but he is then going to my left rear. It just gets it light and it spun around.”
She added that she doesn’t want to have issues like this, but they’re going to need to deal with them as they can’t keep wrecking each other.
“I just wanted to let him know that I was disappointed of course,” she continued. “We were all in just a fine situation there in the duel running eighth or so. We were running fine and there is just no reason to get it to the point where it turns the car.”
Hamlin was adamant after the race that he didn’t make contact with her, and states that she spun during the incident due to being loose.
“I can’t predict who has a loose setup or not. I mean, we’re superspeedway racing,” he commented. “I treat her as equal as anyone on the race track. She deserves her spot here, but you have to be able to run close to somebody on a superspeedway. You have to have your car stable enough to handle those situations and, to me, it’s not much different than what it was with the 22 (Joey Logano) and the 4 (Kevin Harvick) last week only I wasn’t pushing her. I was just close to her and her car got loose and she spun.”
The incident on Thursday night marked the second incident between the pair during Speedweeks as they also made contact during practice on Wednesday.
Off the track, the pair are friends and spend time together, with their buses parked alongside each other.
“I’ve got a great relationship with both of them (Danica Patrick and Tony Stewart),” Hamlin commented. “Danica is one of my better friends in this garage and Tony is too. They know I’ve got no intentions with those guys. That whole team – I’ve got a great relationship with them. Trust me, I’m sitting there shaking my head when she spun out, but there’s nothing you can do. You can’t treat anyone – you can’t allow more room because of somebody different when you’re trying to go forward.”
For that reason, Patrick feels that the conversation is going to continue.
“We are going to have to figure it out because this isn’t going to end well,” Patrick said.