Happy Hour: Coming to Denny’s defense

New season, new Happy Hour! You know the drill. Throughout the week you can send us your best questions, jokes, rants and just plain miscellaneous thoughts to happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com or @NickBromberg. We'll post them here, have a good time and everyone's happy. Right? Oh who are we kidding, this is NASCAR. No one is ever happy.

We're three for three so far with overriding themes and you can guess what the topic of discussion was this week. Given the reaction, you have to wonder how many new fans Denny Hamlin has picked up over the last seven days?
This is America. We Do have free speech. This is a new low for NASCAR. Long-time fans like me want to hear and see more of the driver's personality not just the prepared media version. Denny Hamlin has a right to be outraged and is afraid to say what he feels because the sanctioning body seems to be more powerful than the constitution of the United States! I guess this weekend I'll watch golf.
- Fred

After being a Nascar race fan for 40+ years,this Year is the most disappointing yet.After kicking out the nationwide driver Clements for saying something maybe out of line and to my understand of what was said !!WOW!! don’t turn on SHOWTIME - “Inside Nascar” for the in car recordings of the drivers and crew chiefs...... Now NASCAR fining Denny Hamlin for expressing the truth about there so called new car.The racing this year has been boring to say the very least...... the cars play follow the leader. Gas mileage races are a big joke, drivers turning the engine on and off is just plain silly. Owners spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to go fast, so the fast car should win.Not the one that gets 20 mpg.....the moral to the story is maybe Nascar should do there job and keep the cars and parts out of the grandstands. Along with many other things they cannot do that either.Ask the 30 people that were injured at Daytona. I'm going to Bristol and Richmond only because we got the tickets LAST YEAR and I must enjoy been gouged by the motels as I have brought it to the attention of Bristol Motor Speedway and I see there has been no changes to the motel bookings for this year.
Sorry to SAY this is the end of this Nascar fan. ITS OVER
-Kibler's Garage

Just read the article re: Hamster's fine for his comments. Question; was (Kyle Busch) ever fined for his comments after he won Bristol with the COT/Gen-5 car? If not, then NASCAR is way out of bounds on this because if they're going to fine Denny, they should've fined Kyle then.
- Andy Z.

[Related: Denny Hamlin won't appeal $25K fine]

What is NASCAR thinking?? Denny’s comments were very forthright and factual. They didn’t seem to hate on the new car, just pointed out that it would take time for teams to figure it out which would be frustrating to any driver. But NASCAR fining him $25 Grand for on observation is chicken crap!! If you recall, when KB won the first race with the C.O.T. his comment after winning the race was that he hated the car and they pretty much sucked. The next year KB won 8 races in that car!!
- Kevin

First off, I'm not sure that we can say with any certainty that Busch wasn't fined for what he said about the COT. After all, we've just entered a new era of fine transparency in NASCAR. For all we know, Joe Nemechek could have a racked up a fine bill of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years. (No, probably not. We love you, Joe.)

While NASCAR may realize that they've overreached in this instance, they're now in a position that they're likely not going to overreach again. Why? Because who the heck is going to speak truthfully about any negatives when it comes to the new car or the quality of racing in the future? This was essentially a pre-emptive strike to scare off anyone thinking of a threat. Will it work? I hope not. But I fear so.


So I'm that rarest of creatures: The liberal NASCAR fan. Worse, it's not like I was raised in NASCAR country and later realized I was liberal. Nope, I live in LA, work in entertainment, and like NASCAR.

It's a lonely existence. After the 2011 championship race, I had no one at work to gush to. Worse, I've taken all kinds of abuse from co-workers, some of it outright venemous (and unprofessional), although most of it is just talking trash. But it's truly been a lesson in the culture wars in this country. Co-workers don't mock the Brit next to me who follows Formula 1, because that's "exotic." They do take cheap shots at me, though, because NASCAR because it's filled with rednecks. Nothing to do with racing itself, just pure dislike for the fly-over states.

So here I've been, explaining how NASCAR *isn't* just a bunch of redneck idiots, and then the NRA 500 comes along. What the hell am I supposed to do with that? I mean, I can't think of convincing argument to the charge "It's a bunch of gun-loving rednecks," at least not until there's a Planned Parenthood 500.

Then again, maybe NASCAR doesn't care. Maybe they are more concerned about the other thing lurking around the bend: The fact that I (and a bunch of other people) just cancelled cable. And, honestly, this NRA thing makes me feel a lot less guilty about it.
-Andy W.

Andy, I think there are a lot more of you than you realize. And I hate to break it to you, the race is on Fox.


That was some of the "finest" racing I've seen all year.

I don't think I would put out the Warped Wednesday rush to judgment map out for real just yet when it comes to the racing. We've had three races at three distinctly different types of tracks. There was bound to be a feeling out process with this car, and for better or worse, we're right now in that phase. How long will it be? That's the question. For NASCAR's sake given all of the hype, the racing quality needs to be distinctly different pretty damn soon unless they want to deal with a lot of negative feedback... without the slightest hint of any potential driver instigation.

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