“Not the Track Owner Anymore” – Denny Hamlin Elated Over Roger Penske’s $35 million Investment While Exposing “Unsafe” IndyCar Decision

Published 05/30/2023, 12:59 PM EDT

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The 2023 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway witnessed Josef Newgarden take home the much coveted Indianapolis 500 trophy after 11 unsuccessful attempts. With pictures of Newgarden climbing into the stands and putting his face on the Borg-Warner Trophy circulating online, it’s clear how ecstatic winning the race must have been for him. However, apart from the exciting celebration, many including Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin called out the ‘unsafe’ decision towards the end of the race.

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Moreover, he also discussed the phenomenal work the new track owner carried on the speedway.

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Denny Hamlin applauded Roger Penske

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Exclaiming how the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had a great turnout this weekend, Denny Hamlin said,

“The Indy 500, wow, great turnout there. 300 some thousand people…what a day for Roger Penske…I mean all around. Forget the Coke 600 hadn’t happened yet. The guy owns the track, it’s sold out, he did obviously a phenomenal job.”

Furthermore, he went ahead and applauded Penske for the racing experience he had managed to create for the fans. Having spent around $35 million for making capital improvements to the track, Hamlin added about Penske,

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“When he bought that track he just continued to make it better and better. Roger is someone that takes pride in looking good, feeling good type of mantra. And so when he bought that racetrack you knew that he was gonna kind of take it to the next level on the fan experience.

“It’s cool for him to be able to experience that when you saw him on top of the roof, cheering them along the last few laps, he would have been like I mean am not the track owner anymore, I am rooting for my team car.”

However, despite the great race experience, Hamlin did not seem happy with the finish. Explaining how there were some ‘unsafe’ decisions that impacted the climax of the race, the 23XI Racing co-owner cited the post-race comments shared by the race runner-up.

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What was the “unsafe” decision at the finish?

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While discussing how the race saw a great yet controversial finish, Hamlin added,

“I would say because typically it was very NASCAR of them to force the ending of the race to go green. It was very iffy whether they were gonna get the race started back. They brought it down to the red flag and started …it a was green and white together when they started right? There was one green flag lap and you heard Ericsson saying this is kind of unsafe…”

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After the race, runner-up Marcus Ericsson voiced his disappointment with the white/green finish. He said that he didn’t think it was safe to go out of the pits on cold tires for a restart when half the field is sort of still trying to get out on track when the race goes green.

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Written by:

Devyani Sharma

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One take at a time

Devyani Sharma is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. With a portfolio of over 500 articles, she is highly regarded for her ability to provide a nuanced and balanced perspective on the sport. With a Master's Degree in English literature, Devyani places great importance on the power of words and their ability to connect with readers.
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Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

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