“I was severely disrespected by NASCAR by getting fined,” said Hamlin in a written statement last night. “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 one sentence, taken completely out of context.
“Most drivers will tell you that we constantly have our AND NASCAR’s 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(t) 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 (sic) 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.”Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images North America