Denny Hamlin's season just can't become a positive one and on Sunday, the negativity involved Paul Menard.
Early in the race, Hamlin and Menard had contact when Hamlin moved in front of Menard in the tri-oval. He wasn't clear, and the contact sent Menard into the fence and subsequently to the pits with a cut tire.
When Menard was back on track, he eventually got near Hamlin again. And as the duo entered turn three, Menard hit Hamlin's back bumper and spun him around.
Payback? Possibly, and you couldn't necessarily blame Menard if it was. While entering the corner at Atlanta is one of the fastest places on the circuit, Menard didn't hook Hamlin dangerously or anything. He simply tapped him in the bumper.
Hamlin went spinning and didn't hit anything, though the right front fender of his car was torn off after the tire went flat.
Between those incidents, Hamlin was livid about a pit road penalty that he received. When the No. 11 team was fixing rear end damage from the first contact with Menard, Hamlin's car crept over his pit stall line. That resulted in a one-lap penalty that Hamlin served via a stop-and-go.
After the penalty, Hamlin vowed over his radio to come back and win the race and show everyone a nice hand gesture. That obviously didn't happen. He finished 38th. Menard ended up 24th.