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Denny Hamlin & Dale Jr Gang Up on Brad Keselowski’s Blatant Wrecks Amidst NASCAR Star’s Unending Suffering

Published 02/21/2024, 4:24 AM EST

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Nearing the end of the 2024 Daytona 500, all signs pointed toward Brad Keselowski bringing home his first Harley J Earl trophy. Unfortunately, luck once again dealt the 40-year-old a bad hand, meaning Keselowski would instead take home criticism from his biggest rivals, as well as his closest friends. Earlier in the week, Keselowski was already under fire from Ryan Blaney, who openly criticized drivers who had caused his major crash in the Duels.

While the RFK Racing owner had not directly binned Blaney’s Ford, an eager push to Kyle Busch’s ZL1 triggered the 55G crash. However, within just a few laps of the Daytona 500, another aggressive move from Keselowski ended the race for Carson Hocevar and a handful of others. With a pattern emerging from Keselowski’s driving style, both Dale Earnhardt Jr and Denny Hamlin pulled no punches.

Dale Earnhardt Jr praises Blaney’s perseverance whilst calling out Brad Keselowski for his antics

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It’s no secret that the season opener wasn’t the stuff of dreams for Ryan Blaney. After getting clipped by William Byron, who was in turn pushed by Busch and Keselowski, the anger of the reigning champion was fairly evident. Not only had he suffered from a major crash at Daytona just last year, but this was equally impactful too. But Blaney wasn’t the only one with a lot to say to the others.

Speaking on the reigning champion’s ability to bounce back from such massive hits one after another, Jr shared, “This dude is taking some hits in his career. And he’s smart about it. You know, we’ve seen these drivers talk about how hard this car hits and how hard it wrecks.” Junior also shared that Blaney had been in contact with the Medical Center of Pittsburgh to get himself checked after such a major impact.

While Junior was all praises for Blaney’s hindsight with his health, he also felt Keselowski could take a page out of that book for racing maneuvers. Junior shared, “The hard hits are coming from shoves by a lot of the same people! Brad Keselowski is in…a lot of these situations. I love Brad, a great friend of mine, and I picked him to win the Daytona 500. Thought he was gonna get it done and I want that for him, but it seems like a lot of times, he’s in these situations where these pushes go wrong.”

Despite being Junior’s choice for victory at the Great American’s Race, Keselowski’s involvement with Blaney in the Duels and then in another incident on lap 6 of the 500 meant Earnhardt Jr had to break his silence. He shared, “When you see that #6 car, you kinda just gotta watch. Are you not drawn to watch him because of the recurring events.’

Junior’s critique, however, was not that the incident was intentional, but that the experience of the RFK owner did not warrant such a scenario to occur in the first place, let alone so frequently. Concluding by summing up Keselowski’s error, Junior stated, “There’s a reason why the car spins, it’s a bad push. And you’d think that Brad is smart enough to know how to not let that happen.” 

But Junior was not the only one who felt Keselowski had enough experience to know better. Denny Hamlin also highlighted Keselowski’s run-in with Joey Logano in 2021.

Denny Hamlin joins Earnhardt Jr in calling out Keselowski

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On the latest episode of Denny Hamlin’s Actions Detrimental podcast, the 23XI co-owner couldn’t help but share his disappointment with Keselowski’s lap six shenanigans at the Great American Race. While Keselowski had gotten off without a scratch, his aggressive move on John Hunter Nemechek sent the #42 into Carson Hocevar’s #77, ending their hopes of a good outing right then.

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Hamlin shared, “Poor Harrison Burton. I mean, this is the second time in three years that Brad was pushing someone and ended up wrecking him out. So it stinks for him, it both happened very early in the race. Harrison was just kind of an innocent bystander, looked like the #6 just too aggressively ran into the 42 and knocked the 42 into the 6, who then came down and took the 77 with him.  Brad (was) just really aggressive way too early and it has definitely taken some guys out over the last few years.”

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With both Dale Earnhardt Jr and Denny Hamlin calling out Brad Keselowski for his overly aggressive maneuvers, do you think we might get a response from the RFK Racing co-owner himself?

WATCH THIS STORY: The Unseen Turmoil Behind Earnhardt’s Daytona Triumph

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Written by:

Kabir Bajaj Ahmed

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Kabir Bajaj Ahmed is an F1 & NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. Known for his storytelling and extensive research skills, he has covered multiple stories on Dale Earnhardt Jr and his legendary dad, allowing readers to relive the thunderous days of 'The Intimidator'. Being a racer himself, Kabir can resonate with the motorsport world better than most.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath