Late in the Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, Aug. 15, Chase Briscoe collided with the rear of Denny Hamlin’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry and sent it spinning off the track. The incident sparked a post-race confrontation between the two drivers, as well as a response from the sanctioning body.
NASCAR vice president of competition Scott Miller spoke to media members after the race and confirmed that the sanctioning body will review the communication between Briscoe and his spotter. NASCAR had issued a penalty to the driver of the No. 14 prior to the collision due to him driving through the grass on the outside of Turn 1. However, Briscoe said that he did not know he had received the penalty until after he spun Hamlin.
“It was announced over the race channel he had a penalty and needed to serve it prior to him having the incident down there with the [No.] 11,” Miller said after the race, per Fox Sports reporter Bob Pockrass. “What we’ll have to do is go back and listen to the communication from the spotter. There wasn’t much time elapsed from the time we called the penalty and him getting into it with the 11. So we’ll do some investigation and make sure the spotter conveyed the message well to the driver before that happened. That was unfortunate how that all worked out there.”
Briscoe Said He Would Never Intentionally Wreck Anyone
When Briscoe cut through the grass after being forced from the track on Turn 1, he received a penalty. NASCAR relayed to his spotter that he had to drop back in the pack, but the driver of the No. 14 kept racing for his first career win and a spot in the playoffs, eventually sending Hamlin spinning through the grass.
Briscoe told NBC Sports after the race that he did not know he had a penalty until Turn 10 of the final lap. He said that he would have done his “stop and go” if he had been aware and that there was no need for him to try and pass Hamlin. Instead, he kept racing, resulting in a separate penalty. The NASCAR results listed Briscoe as finishing 26th overall along with the note indicating that the sanctioning body had “parked” him.
“I wanted to beat him fair and square,” Briscoe said during his post-race interview. “I don’t ever want to wreck anyone for the win. I’ve never wrecked anybody on purpose in my life so I knew that a lot of guys were leaving that bottom lane open, and I almost got passed by [Austin] Cindric there last year, so I knew that was a spot where a lot of guys were just lazy and forgetting about it. I went to turn underneath him, and when I did, I just nicked him in the right-rear corner, and it turned him the other way.”
Hamlin Did Not Believe Briscoe Had Malicious Intent
Briscoe and Hamlin had an intense conversation after the collision and provided their viewpoints on the situation. They did not exchange blows as other drivers have done in the past, but they did not exactly see eye-to-eye. Though Hamlin said after the race that he did not believe Briscoe had malicious intent.
“I agree it’s not on purpose, but my team told me that he had a penalty right away and to me, it’s obvious,” Hamlin said after the race, per “Jayski.” “If you cut the racetrack and end up in the lead, you’re going to have a penalty. Lack of awareness. Race me for a lap. He went right in the back of me. We can’t race that way. I don’t think he did it malicious. I’ve raced with him for a year now. He’s not that kind of person, just bad judgment.”
Hamlin continued and told NBC Sports that he has made mistakes in his own career. Though he still said that Briscoe displayed “a lack of situational awareness” about the penalty for cutting through the grass, which turned his day “upside down.”
Prior to the spin, Hamlin was en route to his first win of the season and the lead over Kyle Larson in the points standings. Instead, he finished 23rd while Larson finished third and picked up a 22-point lead. The driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro is now two races closer to locking up the regular-season championship trophy and 15 bonus playoff points.
Hamlin will now have to fight for points during the final two regular-season races. Though the two tracks have served as the sites of past success during his career. Hamlin has two wins at Michigan Speedway, the next track on the schedule. He won races at the two-mile oval in 2010 and 2011. He also has three wins at Daytona International Speedway, the site of the regular-season finale. Hamlin won the Daytona 500 in 2016, 2019, and 2020.