November 21, 2009
Last week at Phoenix, Denny Hamlin promised he'd be the first one to Brad Keselowski's "pay window," and sure enough he was. Thirty-four laps into Saturday's Nationwide race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Hamlin dumped Keselowski, who was running eighth at the time, as they came off Turn 4. Keselowski spun twice, but was able to save his car before hitting the wall. Take a look at what happened:
Keselowski's crew actually got a laugh out of it. And you have to love the spotter's take: "That boy will never learn. He didn't do it good enough."
Hamlin is a man of his word, though in the end he actually got the worst of it. Keselowski stayed on the lead lap, while NASCAR, very aware of the growing tension between the two that stems from at least four previous incidents this season, penalized Hamlin a lap for aggressive driving.
After the race, Keselowski, who finished 12th, said he was over it, only to set the stage for a new chapter with his comments.
"I have a feeling when he wakes up in the morning he's not going to feel any better about himself," Keselowski said. "He's got a lot of problems – on and off the race track – and I don't think spinning me's gonna make him happy. So, that's my take on it. I've moved on. I'm okay. I'm not going to go out and wreck him or anything like that. I'm just going to go out and do my own thing.".
When told of Keselowski's comment, Hamlin, who rallied to finish fifth, responded, "I feel great right now. It was well worth it. … The fact is, I wasn't going to give him an inch. After I went down pit road [for the penalty], I thought I had won the race. I've never seen so many crews applaud and give the thumbs up on the way by. It just shows you all the cars that he's torn up in the past, you know. All the teams, they feel a little redemption anyway. But, we'll never be even in that sense.
"You have to look at the stands," he continued. "I've never seen so much applause in my entire life. I just think everyone understands this is a self-policing sport. NASCAR did what they had to do. Spinning out someone deliberate like that, they gotta penalize me, there's no doubt about it. So, I wasn't mad about that at all. My objective today was to try to win the race first, take care of him second. And yeah, there's gonna be other days when we're racing and he's still gonna think about it when I'm in his rearview mirror, because obviously the scales are tipped a little bit more in my favor, but still tipped a little bit too much."
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