It was reported earlier this week by The Associated Press that two star Cup drivers were fined, one as much as $50,000, for critical comments about the sport. NASCAR officials declined to name the drivers, but defended their right to maintain some sense of control for the sake of the brand.
"It is the sanctioning body's obligation on behalf of the industry and our fans to protect the sport's brand," spokesman Ramsey Poston said in a statement. "Any action taken by NASCAR has nothing to do with the drivers expressing an opinion -- it's focused on actions or comments that materially damage the sport.
We don't know for certain which comments got the drivers penalized, but Newman's most egregious quote was after he crashed for the third race in a row at Talladega.
"It is a lottery, racing for a championship shouldn't be a lottery," Newman said. "Harvick deserves a lot of credit for doing what [he] did to win. From there on back, I don't know. It is not about someone's car handling or motor being better. The cars might as well all be kit cars for these two races."
Hamlin's most egregious comment was when he was critical of a late-race debris caution after winning at Michigan.
"I understand this is show business," Hamlin said. "We typically get [late-race cautions] every single week. I was thinking that if I didn't win the race because of a bad restart, I'd be angry because NASCAR changed the outcome."
He also said, ""There is always debris that they could throw a legitimate caution for, but I think that sometimes they just kinda let it go when maybe things are getting mixed up, and other times, when things are spread out, let's tighten it back up. You don't have to be so smart to realize that these things are just by chance."
Finable offenses? You make the call.