Found March 09, 2013 on Fox Sports:
"Free Denny" Day 2 started with advice from four-time champion Jeff Gordon. When asked about Denny Hamlin's decision to stand his ground and appeal the $25,000 fine NASCAR levied on him for voicing his opinion on the quality of racing with the Generation 6 car, Gordon suggested it's best "to look at the big picture" and choose battles wisely. While Gordon found Hamlin's quest to challenge authority "interesting," he was surprised his fellow competitor's comments were even worthy of a fine. Regardless, Gordon is well aware of who ultimately runs the show. "At the end of the day, I know whose sandbox I'm playing in," Gordon said. "I like the sandbox. I like to play in it and I want to have the best opportunity to have the most fun in that sandbox. "Sometimes, while you don't always like it, you have to bite your tongue and just go out there and race. I have been there before where I have wanted to challenge that and say those things. If he chooses to do that, that is his prerogative. I think in his mind he is just being honest with himself and didn't see anything wrong with it. "There are times when I feel like, 'Hey, this is my place to speak my mind and say what is there.' ... Sometimes I choose to do it a little bit less harsh." Finding the proper balance and tone when a competitor delivers his or her beliefs is a work in progress for many in the NASCAR garage, including five-time champion Jimmie Johnson. Since Hamlin was cited by NASCAR with violating Section 12-1 of the rulebook (actions detrimental to stock-car racing), Johnson insists he will take those words to heart. "I think we're all learning, and we've all been encouraged to have an opinion and speak our minds about each other as drivers and on certain topics," Johnson said. "The old phrase 'actions detrimental to stock-car racing,' that's something that I am going to try to keep top of mind, and as my opinions come about, if it's something that's going to hurt our sport and I think about it and it enters my mind, then I probably need to keep my mouth shut and head over to the truck and talk it out in there rather than through microphones." Certainly, Gordon has had more time to sharpen his lobbying skills over the last 20 years in the Sprint Cup Series. In the beginning, when he was concerned over an issue, he took his cue from another champion -- Dale Earnhardt. His former crew chief Ray Evernham would observe Earnhardt heading to the NASCAR hauler (the sanctioning body's at track office) and encourage his driver to "go over there and see what it going on." "It was one of those things where you knew that Dale had their ear," Gordon said. "If you weren't up there giving your side of it, there could be a result that came out of it that might affect you. Half the reason I was even up there was just to see what was going on to make sure I could get my 10 cents. "There were usually others that followed as well because everyone kind of saw when Dale moved in there." Still, Earnhardt had a process. He would hold get-togethers at Dale Earnhardt Inc. with his fellow drivers to gauge the sentiment of the garage. He would talk to industry types as well as select media to gather opinions in an era before message boards, let alone Twitter, existed. Then he would take his proposals to the hauler. But Gordon says the current NASCAR schedule doesn't offer drivers the freedom they once had to spend time in the hauler. "There is just not that opportunity that there used to be to see three, four, five, six guys up in the hauler discussing the sport and discussing the rules and discussing the racing," Gordon said. "I've always told NASCAR that it wasn't because we thought we were actually being heard or we actually thought we were making a difference, it was just we felt like we were getting it off our chests and that they might be listening. "I think we lose some of that now." In the new NASCAR, there are town hall meetings where drivers and team principals discuss the issues of the day. And the more intimate meetings, where just the drivers congregate to air concerns? "Who's to say those meetings don't happen today?'' Earnhardt Jr. said. "I think they do, and I think that those meetings are very productive, and it's a great way to get a lot of good ideas moving across the table. I think that a lot of the innovations that you've seen in the sport in the last probably five or six years have come from those discussions. "There's a lot of good dialogue, and I think those style of meetings are still prevalent." ON THE FRONT ROW Due to qualifying being rained out, as defending champion, Brad Keselowski will roll off first for Sunday's Kobalt Tools 400 -- a luxury he's never experienced at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In four starts, Keselowski's best qualifying effort on the 1.5-mile track was 13th. He's never broken into the top 25, but finished 26th twice. "I was just thinking when I walked in, with this being Vegas and all, what the odds would be of a rainout in Vegas," Keselowski said. "I bet that was pretty high. Obviously, whenever you can start up front it is a big deal, and you get the first pit stall and all those things that make a big difference on pit road." Keselowski is tied with Earnhardt Jr. for second in the point standings. Although practice was rained out as well on Friday, Keselowski was encouraged by the speed his car exhibited Thursday. "The way our car has been running the last two weeks, and off of what I saw in practice yesterday (Thursday), I feel like we are in position to hopefully keep that for a very long time in the race and hopefully close it out," Keselowski said. "We have been really close to doing that the last two weeks. We were in position to win and just came up a little bit short. Hopefully this will be the catalyst we need to close it out." NUMBERS GAME 6 -- Races that Tony Stewart has run this season outside of NASCAR-sanctioned events. Smoke expects to run at least 100 before the season ends. 4 -- Drivers who have raced all 15 Cup events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway: Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte, Mark Martin and Gordon. 4 -- Wins by Johnson at Las Vegas -- most among all Cup competitors. SAY WHAT? When Danica Patrick was asked whether she would place a proposition bet on herself to finish in the top 25 in her Las Vegas Motor Speedway Cup debut, she didn't hesitate: "Yeah, I would bet on myself," Patrick said. "I was running up there last year when I had less of an idea what was going on and didn't have a full-time effort. ... It was only a partial schedule obviously. I would, but I think that even the best of us can have bad weekends, and that they happen. "Whether it's from bad luck or whether it's just from missing it, it can happen. I think we'll be better than that, and I would think that the test day would help that just to get us up to speed better and make us feel more comfortable and have a better baseline setup for the race."
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Denny Hamlin fined by NASCAR for comments, says he is not paying fine

Denny Hamlin driver of the No.11 FedEx Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing is the latest driver to find himself in the middle of controversy involving the sanctioning body that is NASCAR. Hamlin made comments regarding the Gen 6 car – and NASCAR did not like the way they came across and issued Hamlin a $25,000 fine stating that that Hamlin violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental...

Hamlin: I won’t pay NASCAR fine

Denny Hamlin said on Thursday that he refuses to pay the fine that NASCAR assessed him after comments he made regarding the new Generation 6 car last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. The car debuted in the Sprint Cup Series this season. "I'll be honest. I'm not going to say anything for the rest of the year, as long as it relates to competition," Hamlin...

NASCAR fines Denny Hamlin $25,000 for comments after Phoenix…psst, He’s NOT Paying It

Denny Hamlin was fined $25k for his remarks after the race at Phoenix last week. And he ain’t payin’ ‘em! NASCAR has fined driver Denny Hamlin $25,000 for comments he made after the March 3rd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. NASCAR determined that Hamlin violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the 2013 NASCAR Rule Book...

Denny Hamlin vows not to pay fine imposed by NASCAR

Denny Hamlin is not too pleased about the $25,000 fine imposed by NASCAR on Thursday after he recently made comments criticizing the quality of Gen 6 cars. In fact, Hamlin is so upset that he is vowing not to pay the fine, and doesn't care if his act of rebellion results in a suspension."This is the most upset and angry I've been in a long, long time about anything that...

Hamlin fined $25K by NASCAR

NASCAR has fined Denny Hamlin $25,000 for disparaging comments about the racing last week at Phoenix. NASCAR said Thursday that Hamlin's actions were detrimental to stock car racing, and the sanctioning body will not tolerate publicly made comments by drivers that denigrate the racing product. Hamlin finished third on Sunday in the second race for NASCAR's new Gen-6 race...

CUP: The Impact Of Hamlin's Fine

Denny Hamlin - “I don’t care at this point.”...

CUP: Hamlin Fine Stirs The Pot

Drivers, fans react to Denny Hamlin being fined for Gen-6 comments…

Drivers eager to take Gen-6 car for a real spin

Although Denny Hamlin's criticism of the new Gen-6 race car drew heavy attention and a hefty fine from NASCAR, most drivers think it's too early to make any negative judgment about their new rides. In fact, this weekend's race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway will be the Gen-6's first real chance to show what it's got. NASCAR and its three manufacturers built...

Denny Hamlin releases statement regarding fine

Alex Trautwig/Getty Images Denny Hamlin was fined by NASCAR for comments he made after last Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway. Shortly after the announcement, Hamlin spoke up and said he was not paying the fine. Hamlin released the following statement on his Twitter  Thursday evening, regarding his feelings towards NASCAR and the fine they assessed him. “The short...

NASCAR Not Pleased With Denny Hamlin

As we already know NASCAR has fined Denny Hamlin for post-race remarks about the new “Generation 6” race car. Hamlin told reporters at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway that he would not pay the fine. This is where it gets to be fun, and not the good kind of fun. Hamlin is walking a dangerous line because NASCAR owns the show, no questions asked. As a few people have pointed out on...

Denny Hamlin Kobalt Tools 400 Race Preview

Phoenix Recap: The FedEx Racing team used excellent strategy and quick pit stops in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway to help get Denny Hamlin into the top-five for the final charge to the checkered flag, and the driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota made a breathtaking, three-wide last lap move to finish third in the 312-mile race won by Carl...

What's real cost of Denny's fine?

When it comes to drivers and NASCAR, seldom does push ever come to shove. Yet given Denny Hamlin's recent displeasure with the sanctioning body fining him $25,000 for "actions detrimental to stock-car racing'' -- and the driver's promise not to pay the fine, followed by "If they suspend me, they suspend me" -- one has to wonder what his loss would...

Denny Hamlin vows to avoid paying fine, laments NASCAR relationship

1. Hamlin draws NASCAR’s (thin-skinned) ire NASCAR suddenly, quickly and, well, mistakenly landed a $25,000 shot to Denny Hamlin's wallet on...
NASCAR News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.