Ryan Blaney Takes Direct Aim at Denny Hamlin After Homestead, Calls Him a ‘Hack’
Ryan Blaney has been known to get fiery and use some blue language over the team radio. At Homestead on Sunday, that competitive side of the Team Penske driver came out when he was contending late and in an aggressive battle with Denny Hamlin.
After the race, the driver of the No. 12 visited with reporters and elaborated on his thoughts about Hamlin and what happened between them, including invoking a word to describe the Joe Gibbs Racing driver, who famously used the same word several seasons ago.
Ryan Blaney and Denny Hamlin battle late at Homestead
Ryan Blaney was one of the better cars all day at Homestead, finishing third in Stage 1, winning Stage 2, and leading 53 laps in the race. With 38 laps to go, the No. 12 lined up for a restart on the front row outside of Denny Hamlin.
On the first trip around the 1.5-mile track, Hamlin slid up the track in one corner and escorted the Penske car with him. That slowed the momentum of both, allowing Christopher Bell to pass on the low side for the lead. And things were just heating up.
A lap later, after William Byron passed, Hamlin tried to pull ahead and slide in front of Blaney. It didn’t work. The 29-year-old driver didn’t appreciate the move and, on the backstretch, showed his displeasure by moving down the track and riding on the door of the JGR car.
The pair raced side by side for several laps, trading position multiple times before the No. 11 car, which had moved in front, experienced an issue and made a hard right turn into the wall.
Blaney doesn’t hold back what he thinks about Hamlin
Blaney passed the severely damaged car riding on the fence.
“Ha. Come on. Clear,” the No. 12 spotter told him over the team radio.
“F*** you, ********,” the driver said, directing his frustration at Hamlin.
After the race, where Blaney finished second, he was asked about his late battle with the three-time Daytona 500 winner, who finished 30th.
“Well, he tried to slide me two or three times and failed miserably,” Blaney told Frontstretch.com. “And then just decided to use me up. If you’re going to slide somebody, slide somebody and commit. Don’t halfway do it and use me up. What did he say, hack? I think he was that today.”
Hamlin’s comment used against him
Blaney was referring to Hamlin’s comments a couple of years ago at Martinsville. The JGR driver was unhappy about the end of the race when Alex Bowman drove into the back of his car and spun him out of the lead.
The 42-year-old showed his disapproval of the move immediately after the race when he interrupted the No. 48’s burnout celebration before calling him a hack in his nationally televised post-race interview. This was not well received by the fans in attendance, who showered him with boos.
What makes Blaney’s “hack” comment all the more intriguing is the timing. Both drivers will race at Martinsville this coming weekend in the final Round of 8 playoff race. Both are still vying for the final two spots to make the Championship 4 at Phoenix.
On a short track already known for causing tempers to flare, the Blaney-Hamlin drama is a storyline to watch at The Paper Clip. And Hamlin, who has previously won there five times, faces a must-win situation. He’ll have to be aggressive.
Translation: more hacking incoming.