Denny Hamlin, Speedway Motorsports CEO clash in public late-night social media exchange

Denny Hamlin got into a back-and-forth with Speedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith, setting NASCAR social media ablaze early Friday morning.

The 43-year-old Cup Series veteran and team owner responded to a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, showing sections of the track at Sonoma coming apart right after a recent repaving.

“When paving on a budget goes wrong. (North Wilkesboro) will be next.”

Hamlin’s post quickly caught the eye of Smith — the 51-year-old Speedway Motorsports CEO and the son of Hall of Famer, Bruton Smith.

North Wilkesboro, which hosts the Cup Series’ All-Star race on May 19, is operated by Speedway Motorsports.

Wrote Smith: “This is a great post from somebody who doesn’t know all the information. Ignorance on display for the world to see! (I will delete this tweet when @dennyhamlin sends me a text or gives me a call directly to ask why this is happening.)“

Hamlin responded: “You dont need to delete. We’ve seen your reconfig record.”

Drivers throughout NASCAR have blasted reconfigurations and repavements at Speedway Motorsports-operated tracks, including Bristol and Atlanta.

“Yes we take risks, sometimes they work sometimes they don’t. We’ve seen your attempt of the championship as well. When you have a chance, maybe you could give me some golf tips,” Smith posted.

Hamlin answered: “Heres your tip. Let someone else run your business before you blow everything your dad gave you.”

Smith: “So proud of my dad! Hall of Famer! If he had a Twitter/X account, I don’t think his comment would be family friendly. So listen here, almost @NASCAR Champion, you keep working at it and one day you’re gonna get the big trophy! Thanks for the tip!”

Oct 28, 2023; Martinsville, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) on pit road at Martinsville Speedway.
Oct 28, 2023; Martinsville, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) on pit road at Martinsville Speedway.

Smith deleted his replies and made a new post early Friday morning.

“Following up on my previous posts, I take a lot of pride in the dedication and hard work our teammates put forth to make @NASCAR the very best it can be and I shouldn’t let social media conversations get personal, so I deleted those posts.

“@dennyhamlin is a passionate driver and team owner and I’m truly looking forward to seeing him drive for a championship this year.

“Our team is working hard to fix some pavement issues @racesonoma and we will get it right. Let’s keep the positive momentum going in 2024!”

Posted Hamlin, at around 9 a.m. Friday: “Again I ask, could someone come out with a paint scheme or something.” He made a similar post on Thursday in response to fans complaining about his jumping of the restart in his victory this past weekend at Richmond.

The Cup Series heads to Martinsville at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Dale Jr. hours before: “I voted Hamlin” as NASCAR’s top modern villain

Just hours before this exchange, a racing page polled NASCAR fans on their top modern villain: Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch or Ross Chastain.

Hamlin has 70% of the vote on The Daily Downforce’s poll, as of Friday morning.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted a meme, referring to Logano exhaling as only about 12% of fans voted him their biggest villain. A fan repsonded to Dale Jr. that he “won’t say Hamlin because buddies with dumb podcast.”

“That’s funny. I voted Hamlin. Saw the results, then made my post of Joeys relief. So what now?”