Monday, August 05, 2013

Petty, Hamlin In War Of Words

Kyle Petty
The list of Kyle Petty fans in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is at least one name shorter this week, after the NASCAR On FOX analyst offered stinging criticism of Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin, and Hamlin responded in kind.

Petty suggested on NASCAR RaceDay Sunday that Hamlin should end his 2013 season early to focus on healing his ailing lower back. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has dealt with chronic back pain throughout his career, and suffered a compression fracture of his first lumbar vertebra in a March 24 crash at Auto Club Speedway. He subsequently missed four races, and has struggled badly since his return, currently ranking 25th in the Sprint Cup Series championship standings.

“He can win the next four or five races,” said Petty, “but it's not going to change the championship this year. He needs to focus on next year, get his body back together and come back and have a shot at winning next year.

“He's started to talk a lot,” said Petty of Hamlin Sunday. “He's talked about being the face of Joe Gibbs Racing. I think he's got a little bit of 'BK (Brad Keselowski) Syndrome' in him right now. He's not relevant to the sport as far as the Chase, what's going on in the Chase and winning the championship.”

Denny Hamlin
Hamlin responded angrily to those comments, tweeting “Kyle Petty is a moron” prior to Sunday’s race. He was also in no mood for reconciliation after crashing out of the 400 en route to a 43rd-place finish, telling reporters, “He’s an analyst, but not a very informative one because he doesn't know anything. My beef with Kyle is he has a lot of opinions about a lot of drivers, but he never once talked to any of them. To be an analyst, you've got to be in the trenches to find out the stories.

“I got here on hard work and winning,” said Hamlin of Petty. “I didn't get here like he got here.''  

Hamlin also denied calling himself the face of JGR, saying, “What I really said was I was the face of FedEx and the #11 team."  

Hamlin and Petty have a sometimes rocky history, dating back to 2007, Petty’s final full season as a Cup Series driver. After an on-track incident in the fall race at Dover International Speedway, Petty confronted Hamlin on pit road while the Joe Gibbs Racing driver was still strapped into his race car, admonishing him verbally and slapping Hamlin’s helmet visor. 

Racers never forget, even after they no longer drive race cars. 

Yesterday’s dispute was the second between Petty and a NASCAR driver in the last few weeks. Petty said recently that rookie Danica Patrick “can go fast, but she can't race. She's come a long way, but she's still not a race car driver. I don't think she's ever going to be a race car driver (and) it’s too late to learn."

Patrick shrugged off those comments, saying, “There are plenty of people who say really bad things about me. I really don't care. People want me to die. You get over that stuff.”
Team owner Tony Stewart took issue with them, however, calling Petty’s comments, "way out of line and very inappropriate.''
An eight-time winner in NASCAR Cup Series competition, Kyle Petty is paid to express opinions and offer expertise. Intentionally or not, he has become of NASCAR’s resident contrarian; willing (and often intending) to upset the apple cart and push as many buttons as possible.

It is a role he clearly relishes.

Petty sometimes seems to court controversy, interjecting himself into stories rather than simply reporting on them. He is a frequent and outspoken critic of NASCAR, its drivers, crew chiefs and teams, and doesn’t mind calling people out – by name – when the opportunity presents itself. His approach keeps him in periodic hot water with the sanctioning body, its athletes and fans, but there’s one thing for sure about Kyle Petty.

He is certainly never dull.


  1. gnatt661:58 PM

    good cop, bad cop..its nothing new.

  2. As much as I have respect for the Petty's and I know Kyle knows his stuff he really bugs me some times with the stuff that comes out of his mouth. Frequently he's wrong & out of line. With the last name Petty you think it would carry a little weight with it. I have more respect for Jimmy Spencer when he does his gig on speed Tuesdays and Thursdays. Maybe Kyle is bucking for a new job?!
    My bottom line I listen to Kyle with my filters on between real facts and his overbearing opinion.

  3. "suggested" and his opinion are two whole different things. No?

  4. Kyle is doing what they pay him to do... look at all the stories written this week about it.... getting their money's worth I think. I like Kyle because he doesn't mix words and he's not afraid to step on toes, he doesn't tow the line and he calls it like he sees it and isn't afraid to actually speak what he's feeling. to many in the sport are getting way to politically correct in my book. wish we actually had more people in the sport like Kyle

  5. Let's see...Kyle, racing for 30 years in NASCAR touring series, Hamlin, 9 years. Kyle's last top five finish, 2007 in the World 600. Hamlin's last top 5 finish, I can't remember. I'd say Kyle's not only been in the trenches, he helped dig 'em.

    1. Anonymous12:16 PM

      Denny Hamlin with 3 top 5's and 4 top 10's in 2013...That help refresh your memory???

    2. Please ensure you qualify it completely....

      Kyle Petty - 30 years racing - 8 wins

      Denny Hamlin - 9 years racing - 22 wins...

      now who would you rather listen to?

      Kyle couldn't race so he had to be an "instigator" on TV.

  6. It's nice to know a contrarian can still appear on network NASCAR coverage (even if just on Speed/FS1) for a while it looked like a bunch of Yes men, even if I don't always agree with him it's nice to see others sides of a topic. (and in this case he had a very valid point...if he has said it more tactfully it might have been better received)

  7. Anonymous6:17 PM

    Go KYLE...

  8. Anonymous6:19 PM

    Somebody has to tell the way it is...and he does !!! Barky

  9. Anonymous6:52 PM

    Most of the time I agree with KP

  10. Who is Tony Stewart to call anyone's comments out of line?

  11. Anonymous8:03 AM

    It's better than listening to a Waltrip (either one) talking about how awesome everyone is and how great every race is.

    Kevin F.

  12. Anonymous9:38 AM

    typical Hamlin whinning

  13. The fact that there is any discussion about this means it has merit. Denny is out of contention and it is really of his own doing. He created a issue with another driver that got him injured in a race and killed his season. He made statements that were poorly worded and came back on him, maybe it was the pain meds. Denny is way too full of himself and is looking for something to put his name back in the headlines. I would bet if he had his season to do over again he might race his former teammate differently knowing what we know of this season now.

    Kyle just took what was out there and commented on it in his own style like he normally does. I applaud KP for not taking the corporate position all the time and not being afraid of speaking what so many might like too say if it did not get them fined or sanctioned by NASCAR.

    Denny stop your whining about analyst and reporters and get your back issues taken care before it costs you your sponsor and ride. No one in this sport in your position is irreplaceable, that includes you Denny!

  14. Nothing Hamlin has done warranted disagreeing with Petty's comments. All Hamlin is doing is living up to the ATHLON SPORTS preseason preview that portrayed him as an unlikeable snob in the garage area.

    The fact is Hamlin may have more wins than Kyle Petty but he has nothing in the way of class. Kyle deserved his wins; Hamlin doesn't deserve a career.

    1. Anonymous2:32 PM

      Do you REALLY believe in your heart of hearts that Kyle Petty would've been given even the slightest passing thought had he not been the son of The King???

  15. Anonymous12:22 PM

    Too bad Kyle Petty will be out of a job once NBC and FOX take over the reigns. Thank God we won't won't have to listen to him anymore! RETIRE ALREADY KYLE PETTY! ! ! Sit on the porch and whittle a stick or something.

    Whittle the stick like your career...

    whit·tle [hwit-l, wit-l] Show IPA verb, whit·tled, whit·tling, noun
    verb (used with object)
    to cut, trim, or shape (a stick, piece of wood, etc.) by carving off bits with a knife.
    to form by whittling: to whittle a figure.
    to cut off (a bit).
    to reduce the amount of, as if by whittling; pare down; take away by degrees (usually followed by down, away, etc.): to whittle down the company's overhead; to whittle away one's inheritance.
    verb (used without object)
    to whittle wood or the like with a knife, as in shaping something or as a mere aimless diversion: to spend an afternoon whittling.
    to tire oneself or another by worrying or fussing.