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Petty Voices Support for Hamlin's Refusal to Pay NASCAR Fine UPDATE #3 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, NASCAR has no credibility. They are run like the old Soviet Union - say something they don't like and it's off to Siberia. I wonder how many times this year Hamlin's car will fail tech inspection? NASCAR will put the screws to him just like they did to Kyle Busch. Mike Neubauer

03/08/13 NASCAR VP of Competition Robin Pemberton discussed the fine Thursday afternoon:
Q. Denny Hamlin was saying he's not planned to pay the fine that he was given for his comments. What would be the procedure and how long does he have to pay?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: He also has the ability to appeal. The fines are supposed to be paid as soon as possible, but we're not in any of those windows yet where it seems to be a problem.
Q. Where is the limitation for what drivers can say without facing a fine if they have concerns about the car, whatever?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: We give them quite a bit of latitude, but you can't slam your racing, you can't slam your product. That's where it crosses a line.
Q. If Denny wants to appeal the fine, what would that process entail?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: He has to let us know. He has to write a letter.
Q. He can continue to compete?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: Yes. It's like every other appeal. Over the course of time, you remember mechanics and crew chiefs, whatever, if they appeal, then they can continue to carry on business as usual until the appeal has been heard and ruled on.
Q. Just to clarify on that. When he does appeal, does it also go to the National Stockcar Racing Commission and then to the chief appellate officer?
ROBIN PEMBERTON: This isn't any different than an illegal part or piece.

Denny Hamlin issued the following statement Thursday night: "The short of the long of it is I believe I was severely disrespected by NASCAR by getting fined. I believe that the simple fact of us not even having a conversation about this issue before I was hit with a fine has something to say about our relationship. What I said was 1 sentence taken completely out of context. Most drivers will tell you that we constantly have our AND nascars best interest in mind when speaking. On the other hand I am a person that worked very hard from the BOTTOM to get where I am today and someone telling me that I can give my 100 percent honest opinion really bothers me. Since being fined in 2010 I have been a lot more careful about what I say to media and I felt this past weekend felt completely in my rights to give a assessment of the question asked. I feel as if today NASCAR lost one of its biggest supporters vocally of where our sport is headed. So in the end there are no winners. I said today I would not pay the fine. I stand by that and will go through the process of appealing. Trust me, this is not about the money. It's much deeper. I will now shift my focus on giving FedEx and my team what they deserve this weekend, a win."

Denny Hamlin tells NASCAR to go pound sand
SPEED analyst and former driver Kyle Petty today said he supports Denny Hamlin’s refusal to pay the $25,000 fee levied against him by NASCAR for his post-race comments at Phoenix that the sanctioning body claim “denigrate the racing product.”

Following are Petty’s comments:

“I’m going to stand behind Denny on this one.  Just because it’s NASCAR’s ball and their ballpark and they make the rules doesn’t necessarily mean that there can be censorship, and there appears to be a lot of censorship in this fine.  NASCAR wants drivers to have personalities and character and to express themselves but only if they say positive and not negative things.  I don’t know anyone who can do that.

“I’m going to buy me a Denny Hamlin hat and t-shirt because drivers should stick up for themselves.  It’s hard to believe that this sport has come to this where we fine drivers for comments.  Whatever happened to fining drivers for big motors and illegal bodies and cheating on the track? Now it appears they don’t have a right to have an opinion off the race track.

I could not survive in this sport as a driver at this time. I’d be paying a fine every week.  I’d be broke.

“But here’s the way it works:  It’s NASCAR’s ball, their ballpark, their rules and if you want to play, you gotta pay.  You can stand up and blow smoke and hot air all you want, but somebody’s going to have to pay that fine if it comes down to that or it’s going to have to be appealed and overturned.”

03/07/13 NASCAR has fined driver Denny Hamlin $25,000 for making critical comments about the new Sprint Cup car and the race last week at Phoenix International Raceway.

Hamlin criticized the racing at Phoenix, where he rallied from the rear of the field to finish third but he said after the race that the new Gen-6 car was difficult to pass with.

NASCAR has been heavily promoting the new Gen-6 car, which debuted this year and has new body styles that correlate more closely with their respective passenger cars.

NASCAR officials wouldn’t specifically say which comments Hamlin was fined for, but he said several times that it was difficult to pass at Phoenix with the new car.

“I don't want to be the pessimist, but it did not race as good as our generation five cars,” Hamlin said in a postrace interview on pit road. “This is more like what the generation five was at the beginning. The teams hadn't figured out how to get the aero balance right.

“Right now, you just run single-file and you cannot get around the guy in front of you. You would have placed me in 20th-place with 30 (laps) to go, I would have stayed there.”

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