Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Denny Hamlin: Mistake led to Tony Stewart's Sonoma win

DAYTONA BEACH — Denny Hamlin insists he didn't let retiring NASCAR star Tony Stewart win last week at Sonoma Raceway.

Asked about his runnerup finish at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, Hamlin made it clear that his mistake was the main reason Stewart got by him in the final turn Sunday.

Stewart passed Hamlin on the inside going into tricky Turn 11 on the road course and held on to break an 84-race winless streak.

"I didn't let Tony win," Hamlin said. "I made a mistake and didn't execute good," Hamlin said.

"My biggest mistake I feel like is not recognizing the gap I had behind me. … I still needed to execute to make him make the decision. Instead I made the decision for him."

Hamlin took the lead from Stewart in Turn 7, but locked up the wheels and got wide on the final hairpin turn.

The last-lap pass had some questioning whether Hamlin intentionally let Stewart get a much-needed victory in his final season, a win that likely will get the three-time champion one more chance for a title in the Chase for the Championship.

"In my defense, which I should still not make mistakes, is that I've never been in that position before," Hamlin said. "I've not been that competitive on road courses and so I didn't know the proper defensive move going into that last corner."

Hamlin, a Joe Gibbs Racing driver who was once Stewart's teammate, congratulated Stewart in Victory Lane and late apologized to his team.

Now the focus is Daytona, the site of Saturday's Coke Zero 400 and the place where Hamlin picked up the biggest victory of his career in February, in the season-opening Daytona 500. He's trying to become the sixth driver to sweep both races at Daytona in the same season.

"It's definitely been a good year no matter what when you win a race like that," Hamlin said.

Orlando decal: NASCAR teams are running a decal on their cars at Daytona to honor the 49 victims killed last month in the mass shooting in Orlando. "It was a terrible tragedy," Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. "I'm glad that the sport has got the stickers on all the cars. I think it's a great way for us to show our support."

Denny Hamlin: Mistake led to Tony Stewart's Sonoma win 06/30/16 [Last modified: Thursday, June 30, 2016 8:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rick and Tom podcast: Bucs' Gerald McCoy frustrated with disrepectful fans

    Bucs

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss Gerald McCoy's latest comments on disrespectful fans who attack his teammates, Donald Trump, protests by Desean Jackson and Mike Evans, and his respect for the …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) warms up before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  2. NFL owners' unity with players might be short-lived

    Bucs

    The image was striking — several owners of NFL teams locking arms with their players on the sidelines Sunday, and the Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Monday night, in a dramatic statement of defiance to a president who ridiculed their sport and condemned players for refusing to stand during the national anthem as a …

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, currently without a team, has cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for not standing during the national anthem. [Associated Press]
  3. Anthem protest, the latest: Jerry Jones joins Cowboys on field in show of solidarity

    Bucs

    As President Donald Trump continued tweeting Monday about his displeasure with NFL players for staging demonstrations during the national anthem, the Cowboys took a knee on the field just before the anthem was performed on Monday Night Football. Dallas players were joined by owner Jerry Jones, and they quickly …

    Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, center, joins the team in taking a knee before the national anthem Monday night. They stood and linked arms for the anthem.
  4. Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says players who kneel have team's support

    Sports

    TAMPA — Receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson were the only Bucs players kneeling during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Vikings, but DT Gerald McCoy said the team supports their protest "100 percent."

    Bucs tight end Cameron Brate pulls in a touchdown catch as Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo (34) hits him in the back of the head.
  5. Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, New York

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Yankees

    7:05, Yankee Stadium, New York

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)