After Nearly Succumbing to the Chaos, Denny Hamlin Left Shocked by Ross Chastain Dumping Michael McDowell

Published 02/07/2024, 7:21 AM EST

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A NASCAR race feels incomplete if there is no drama involved! Well, drama was in abundance in the Clash at the Coliseum on Saturday. On-track action and off-track altercations—the event had it all. One moment even shocked Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin, who could not help but react to the incident. It involved Ross Chastain and Michael McDowell, and the #11 was not too far away from it.

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Denny Hamlin went on to win the race after taking the lead late in the race and fighting off several competitors. The Joe Gibbs Racing star did not start the race well, but after adjustments were made at halftime, there was no stopping the #11 car.

Ross Chastain ruined Michael McDowell’s decent Clash run

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With just 10 laps to go in the race, Michael McDowell and Ross Chastain came together. The driver of the #1, who won the final race of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season in Phoenix, is known to be an aggressive race car driver. He let that side of his out as he attempted to get past the #34.

The Front Row Motorsports driver was running in a decent position before his race was ruined. McDowell was the winner of last year’s Cup Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. However, his hopes of starting the season strong were dashed by the #1, which finished P15 in the Clash race.

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His spotter was disappointed as he explained to his driver what just happened. “He just hard left into your right here on the back there,” Michael Fisher said in a dejected tone. The incident shocked eventual race winner Denny Hamlin, who said: “Oh, that was *****! Wow.”

It’s not the first time in a few days that Denny Hamlin has taken a stand against someone at Trackhouse Racing. On a recent episode of the Actions Detrimental podcast, the driver of the #11 spoke against Trackhouse boss Justin Marks’ tweet about there being more inclusivity on track.

Denny Hamlin refutes Ross Chastain’s boss’ Clash at the Coliseum advice 

Taking to X, Marks praised Clash at the Coliseum but believes that there should be more entries in the main race. Refuting that point, Denny Hamlin said that too many drivers would take away from the prestige of the event and that he was a believer in the term ‘less is more.’

The race pays a quarter of what other races do. That’s why you’re gonna hear teams say,Man, we just spent all this money coming out here, putting on a show for you guys, and we’re not even allowed to race? I am of the opinion though that less is more,” the JGR star said.

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All-Star races should be for all-stars. I mean, the playoffs should be for the best. If you just keep inviting everyone, then it’s not that prestigious anymore, right? So I am definitely a fan of ‘less is more’. I thought it cleaned up the race quite a bit, having fewer cars on it,” he added.

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What are your views on the matter? Do you think Denny Hamlin is right, or should Clash at the Castle have more than 23 drivers in the main race? Let us know your thoughts.

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Written by:

Nilavro Ghosh

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Nilavro Ghosh is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports, where he is known for his creative yet easy-to-read writing style. Before taking up his role as a sports journalist at ES, Nilavro has written for some of the top publishing houses, like The Telegraph. While most journalists stop at covering live events and taking the news to the readers, Nilavro goes the extra mile to give fans a platform for them to express their thoughts through his 'race reaction' pieces.
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Edited by:

Riya Singhal

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