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On his podcast, Actions Detrimental, Hamlin openly admitted to walling Chastain on purpose during the final restart of the race. The two drivers have a feud dating back to last June, clashing in multiple races since then.
He said on Monday: “It wasn’t a mistake. I let the wheel go and I said he’s coming with me.”
NASCAR has decided to take action, docking Hamlin 25 driver points and fining him $50,000.
The sanctioning body cited the following sections of the rulebook in assessing the penalties:
Sections 4.4: NASCAR Member Code of Conduct
B. – Attempting to manipulate the outcome of the Race or championship. – Wrecking or spinning another vehicle, whether or not that vehicle is removed from Competition as a result
D. – Actions by a NASCAR Member that NASCAR finds to be detrimental to stock car racing or NASCAR.
The two drivers have had several run-ins dating as far back as Gateway last summer. They clashed several times after that, notably at Atlanta Motor Speedway and then Pocono Raceway. In fact, it was Hamlin that Chastain eliminated from the playoffs when he famously rode the wall into the Championship 4 at Martinsville.
The 2023 season began with yet another incident in the pre-season exhibition race in Los Angeles, with Chastain spinning Hamlin.
NASCAR also hit Hendrick Motorsports and Kaulig Racing with major penalties after the louvers from their cars were confiscated.
The No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing team was also penalized after a wheel that separated from Aric Almirola’s car at Phoenix. Crew members Ryan Mulder and Sean Cotten have been suspended from the next two races.