Danica Patrick got wrecked not once, but twice by Denny Hamlin this week, including during the last Daytona Duel race. Hamlin tried to explain his side of the story, but she's clearly not having it. Nuh-huh. Oh, and Kurt Busch totally cupped Danica's face after she had words with Hamlin to calm her down. (Too soon?)
After wrecking Patrick in Wednesday's practice for the Daytona 500, Denny Hamlin made contact with Patrick's car again near the end of the second Daytona Duel. The crash from Wednesday forced Patrick to race her way into the 500. Because her car was so damaged that her team had to substitute a backup car for the Duels, she was forced to start at the back of the second Duel race tonight.
Hamlin pushed Patrick into a wreck with only three laps to go in the second Duel, too, once again, putting her precariously close to elimination from the Daytona 500.
As the announcer mentioned, a bump heading into a turn is bad news at Daytona.
Fortunately for Patrick, she was able to push back up to tenth place from eighteenth place after her wreck with a little drafting help from Stewart-Haas teammate Kurt Busch. Shake 'n' bake, that's how you do it.
After the wreck, Danica said, "Denny's got it coming to him, twice. Fuck that. Three times."
This is the face of a woman who is done with today and is all out of room to take anyone's crap. Nope. No room in the crapwagon to haul it away. She's just going to stay mad and there's nothing you or anyone else can do about it.
She's done. Nope. Not gonna throw any punches, but hoo booooy she's gonna stare Hamlin down and wave some hands in frustration. She then went over to Kurt Busch, who cupped her face and gave her a hug. (We're glad there were no walls nearby, as that particular gesture has gotten Busch in quite some hot water lately.)
Hamlin blames Danica's "loose" oversteery setup as the reason why he keeps accidentally tappin' dat.
"They gotta tighten her car up, man," Hamlin radioed in to his crew, as quoted by NASCAR. "I didn't touch her."
Add to this the fact that you have an announcer calling her a "young lady" (erm, huh?) and you have one bizarre post-race video. C'mon, announcer. You don't call the thirty-two-year-old dudes "young men." That's just a little condescending unless you're actually ninety, and then 99.99999% of the world's population is young compared to your wrinkly self. Knock it off, bro. [Edit: JGod24 mentioned that the announcer is most likely Darrell Waltrip who is, in fact, a whole lot older than everybody on the grid. So, theory #2 it is, but it's still weird.]
But what did they say to each other? A couple reporters got closer to the action than the TV cameras did. You can tell that Hamlin is also pretty frustrated in the confrontation from Bob Pockrass's view of the fight.
Fortunately, Jay Busbee captured a bit more of the audio.
NBC Sports was able to piece together a full transcript of the spat here.
The upside is that yes, Danica made it into the Daytona 500. Daytona means everything to many drivers, so getting wrecked out twice by the same person before you can even solidify a place on the starting grid is pretty worrysome.
Hamlin later took to Twitter to sort of take responsibility for the crash, but still maintains that he didn't tap Danica tonight:
As for the results of the race itself, Jimmie Johnson won the second Duel of the night.
UPDATE: NASCAR just released a closer video of the spat, which shows Tony Stewart encouraging Hamlin to "watch the video" because "that's two this week, bud."