“Worth 50 Grand”- Denny Hamlin Reveals How NASCAR’s Brutal Response to Intentionally Wrecking Ross Chastain Paid Off

Denny Hamlin‘s escapades, both on and off the track, have certainly spiced up the world of NASCAR. From his wins and headline-grabbing remarks to his mix of deliberate and accidental on-track tussles, Hamlin’s journey this year has been nothing less than a reality show. While he’s been tight-lipped and defended himself about the close shave with Kyle Larson‘s car at Pocono, Denny Hamlin recently spilled the beans to Dale Earnhardt Jr on his podcast about the Phoenix kerfuffle.

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The 23XI co-owner, in March, admitted on, “Actions Detrimental,” that he intentionally bumped Ross Chastain, an admission that led to a slap on the wrist from NASCAR. But in his eyes, coming clean about the incident was a way to clear the air and move past any bad blood with Ross Chastain. It seems like this confession was his way of turning over a new leaf and not letting past skirmishes cloud their future on the track.

Denny Hamlin confesses the deliberate wreck was worth it


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The No. 11’s candid admission on his podcast about deliberately crashing Ross Chastain cost him a hefty $50,000 and a 25-point deduction. Denny Hamlin, caught in a tight spot after a pit strategy snafu, found himself ahead of drivers on fresh tires. When No. 11 refused to cooperate, he realized Ross Chastain was right there beside him, and in a moment of frustration, he yelled, “You’re coming with me, buddy.”

Chatting with Dale Earnhardt Jr on his podcast, Denny Hamlin reflected on the incident and its aftermath. Despite the financial hit and point loss, he felt the confession was a game-changer. “That was worth it though. Let me tell you, because that 50 grand, wherever it was, the points didn’t matter until they did. It turns out they didn’t, at the end of the day it was the regular season championship. But that ended it with me and Chastain. It was worth the grand league for it to be done. And whether it was the actions on the track or talking through a mic, like to him at times, it was worth it to me to get that behind us. It has just been going on for too long.”

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Hamlin’s maneuver fell squarely under Section 4.4 of NASCAR’s conduct code, particularly the part about manipulating race outcomes and deliberately causing crashes. In the incident, Denny Hamlin forced Ross Chastain into the wall, leading to both finishing way behind their top 10 starts.

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But the Hamlin-Chastain saga wasn’t a one-off episode. It’s been more like a long-running drama series, starting back at Gateway the previous summer. Their rivalry had more twists and turns than a soap opera, with confrontations at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway. One of the prominent ones was Ross Chastain’s bold Martinsville move, famously dubbed the “Hail Melon,” especially left Hamlin seething as it knocked him out of playoff contention while catapulting Chastain to the final four. It’s probably no surprise, then, that Denny Hamlin was relieved to see the back of this long-standing rivalry, thanks to the fallout from his penalty.

Interestingly, Dale Earnhardt Jr initially thought Denny Hamlin might hang up his podcasting mic due to the controversy. But as it turns out, Hamlin’s confession may have just been the closure he needed to move on from the feud.


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Dale Earnnhardt Jr was worried about #11 leaving Actions Detrimental

Dale Earnhardt Jr was initially biting his nails over the fate of Denny Hamlin’s podcast, Actions Detrimental. Hamlin’s candid confession about his on-track antics with Chastain had stirred the pot, leaving Dale to wonder if this was the final curtain for the podcast. But, true to his nature, Hamlin didn’t throw in the towel. “Got a little bit of trouble early on when he admitted wrecking Chastain. I didn’t know if we were done podcasting at that point with any hammer, but he kept digging,” Dale mused.

Never one to mince words, Denny Hamlin has taken shots at the big names and hasn’t shied away from critiquing NASCAR’s moves. It’s no shocker, then, that listeners flock to the podcast every Monday, eager for Hamlin’s unfiltered take on things.


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Denny Hamlin Credits Frenemy Kyle Larson for Crucial Aspect of Actions
Detrimental, Confesses ”Regrets”

Jim Utter, weighing in on the matter, believes Hamlin’s podcast is a major draw for fans. He even recently hinted that Denny Hamlin might step into Kevin Harvick’s shoes someday, given how “he sort of kind of anointed himself in that role in a way.”

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