Denny Hamlin said Thursday he will not appeal the $25,000 fine levied by NASCAR for comments he made 10 days ago after the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
After discussing the decision with NASCAR officials, he announced the reversal on his Twitter account. He still said the fine disrespected him, but he will follow the NASCAR rulebook. He was fined last week prior to the race in Las Vegas.
"After a lot of thought I have decided not to appeal the fine NASCAR has issued," Hamlin tweeted. "Dragging myself, my team and NASCAR through the mud for the next 2 weeks would not be good for anyone. I firmly believe I am in the right on this issue and will stand behind my decision not to pay. I understand NASCAR will do what they feel is necessary based on my decision. Thanks to all of my fans and peers who have supported me in this decision. I look forward to putting it to rest."
Hamlin was fined for making disparaging remarks about the Gen 6 Sprint Cup car, which debuted this season.
"I don't want to be the pessimist, but it did not race as good as our Gen-5 cars," Hamlin told reporters after the Phoenix race. "This is more like what the Generation 5 was at the beginning. The teams hadn't figured out how to get the aero balance right.
"Right now, you just run single file and you cannot get around the guy in front of you. You would have placed me in 20th place with 30 (laps) to go, I would have stayed there -- I wouldn't have moved up. It's just one of those things where track position is everything."
NASCAR determined that Hamlin had violated section 12-1 of the rule book (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and issued the following statement in announcing the fine:
"Following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event last Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, Denny Hamlin made some disparaging remarks about the on-track racing that had taken place that afternoon. While NASCAR gives its competitors ample leeway in voicing their opinions when it comes to a wide range of aspects about the sport, the sanctioning body will not tolerate publicly made comments by its drivers that denigrate the racing product."
Hamlin has crossed that line before. In 2010 he was docked $50,000 (with a fine that was levied secretly and later acknowledged publicly) for questioning on Twitter the legitimacy of late-race cautions in a Nationwide Series event.