“Shifted the Line From Sport to Entertainment” – Denny Hamlin Condemns “Gimmicky” NASCAR for All the Wrong Reasons

What has NASCAR evolved into since its origin? One could argue that NASCAR has become a much bigger brand, opening up lucrative opportunities in motorsports. At the same time, some could say that it has converted into more of a business rather than a sport. Amidst all these speculative transformations, Joe Gibbs Racing driver and veteran racer, Denny Hamlin feels like the sport has started losing its soul gradually.

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Hamlin has been a valuable asset to the industry for over two decades. A legendary driver, a team owner, and even a podcast host, Hamlin has relentlessly contributed to the advancement of NASCAR. With the proceedings in playoffs giving birth to multiple storylines, now, on the latest episode of his podcast, Actions Detrimental, Hamlin has shifted his focus toward one aspect where NASCAR has kept losing its authenticity.

Denny Hamlin feels NASCAR is moving away from being a sport


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NASCAR has released the racing schedule for 2024 in recent news. Some decisions, like the inclusion of Watkins Glen in the playoffs, have twitched eyebrows, while the removal of Daytona as the regular season finale has also sparked some outrage in the fanbase.

Denny Hamlin and his co-host Jarred Allen look deeper into how these decisions could fare next year. The 42-year-old driver is not a huge supporter of NASCAR’s recent decisions, as was visible when he stated,

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“That 30 seconds to a minute, I share those exact feelings. It feels like I must be going crazy because am I the only person that sees that they are just continuing to make this gimmicky and more gimmicky every single year.”

“I mean, they might just have us running backwards in figure 8. You know the champion will be whoever’s got the biggest b**s in a figure 8 race. That’ll be our champion. What’s frustrating and I say this equally as an owner and a driver because I invest a lot of my money back in this sport and we try to put fast cars on the racetrack to get results. What you know are tracks that… the drivers, you’re not seeing their skill. You’re just seeing who comes out of the carnage.”

However, in hindsight, NASCAR made a horde of good decisions in 2023, including its forage into the ever-prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, SVG’s introduction to the sport at a maiden Chicago race, and optimizations to Next-Gen cars. However, Hamlin’s unhappiness lies with how the authorities have handled internal matters that can affect the sport from within.

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Denny wants NASCAR to utilize its money the right way

Man, this guy just beat everyone else today at Talladega or Atlanta,” said the #11 driver, continuing to vent his frustration on the shortcomings in NASCAR’s decisions. Going by Denny’s words, NASCAR has been thinking of race winners too highly. According to him, the way races are being set up now, they are poised to undergo drama contacts, and crashes. However, there is no way to determine a driver’s true talents behind the wheel. Denny then clarified his stance as he prolonged the rant.

“No, they just survived the carnage and they made the right move at the end. It just seems like NASCAR’s objective and our objectives as a team, my objectives as a driver to try to be the best I can be at all types of racetracks, there’s just an element that you cannot control. Luck is a bigger part of our sport than any other sport by a large margin. They keep increasing the margin year after year with the decisions they make in the playoffs.”


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Another area that could undergo large-scale improvements is track selection. Races have often turned out to be dull or marred by rain this season at tracks like Richmond or Sonoma. While inclement weather has harmed a lot, NASCAR could have prepared themselves better for that.

“It drives me crazy we keep grasping because it’s been nothing from TV ratings to support these wild moves that they keep making. They’re not getting the bounce they’re hoping for. You’re not even secretive anymore about what you want right? It’s just agitating because we work really hard to be the best we can and you just feel like we’ve shifted the line from sport to entertainment way too far to one side. That’s kind of my rant on it.”


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The rant from Denny Hamlin comes after many unreasonable decisions from NASCAR. The addition of Iowa might have found some suitors but the big shuffle hasn’t found many this time around.

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Author: ZeroToHero

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