“We Messed Up”—Joe Gibbs Racing Member Takes the Blame for Ruining Denny Hamlin’s Chances of Winning $1 Million at North Wilkesboro

Published 05/22/2023, 3:09 PM EDT

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The much-anticipated All-Star Race has finally concluded. There was a massive backlash from fans given the race being a lackluster event in terms of drama and action. HMS sensation Kyle Larson took home his third victory in the All-Star Race while Denny Hamlin yet again faded into the back despite rallying early on Sunday.

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As Hendrick Motorsports clinched yet another victory, Larson showcased a dominating run as he grabbed the 1 million cash prize while Hamlin had to pay for a mistake during the race. Later, Hamlin’s crew chief has come out admitting the blunder on his team’s part.

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After a bad outing for Denny Hamlin, his crew chief makes a bold statement

The Cup Series race at the returning North Wilkesboro did not turn out to be as exciting as the fans had hoped for. While the fans were anticipating plenty of drama and action, they were quickly let down as the 200-lap short track saw limited aggression among the drivers.

While there are mixed responses among the community about the race, the atmosphere at Joe Gibbs Racing must have been gloomy. Unfortunately, a minor yet significant error took away the driver’s chance of taking home the 1 million cash prize.

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Later, his crew chief Chirs Gabehart revealed his error while talking to the media. In fact, Gabehart admitted the team’s mistake that eventually cost them the race. Gabehart reflected on the caution at lap 18 that the team should’ve capitalized on.

He said, No, you can’t pit under green. There was no evidence that was going to do anything. Where we messed up was not pitting lap 18. I knew better, 100% should have pit under that caution because there wasn’t going to be many of them,”

Furthermore, he revealed the effects of the poor decision, that puts you in defense rather than offense. And these kinds of racetracks, these kind of scenarios, you don’t want to be on defense because it makes it worse.”

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Further mentioning the missed opportunity, he said, I think we had some work to do to our car but 100% we lost a good run at lap 18. Top 3 cars pit lap 18. No brainer to do it and I just, dummy didn’t do it.” 

The JGR crew chief praised the atmosphere throughout the weekend but called the race a “snoozer.”

Hamlin’s chief gives his take on the race weekend while being honest about the race

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Amidst the community’s displeasure with the race and the race being rather uneventful, Gabehart reflected on the race as he gave his thoughts on the future of the returning track. Even as he admitted the team’s mistake, aside from the “team thing,” Gabehart said, “the weekend’s clearly a smash.” 

He also reflected on the dull race, saying, “I think the race was probably a little bit of a snoozer. Just these guys are so good. You put 20 cars on this track they aren’t going to make many mistakes.” 

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With Bubba Wallace finishing second, the 23XI co-owner could only manage a 13th-place finish. What did you think about the race? Should NASCAR host more events at the iconic short track?

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Written by:

Kishore R

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Kishore is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. With a degree in engineering, Kishore's love for automobiles, particularly the roaring naturally-aspirated V8s, naturally led him to NASCAR. Kishore's writing is characterized by his intense passion for the sport, as well as his ability to conduct in-depth research and analysis.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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