Denny Hamlin was fined $25,000 for "disparaging remarks" after… (Jonathan Ferrey / Getty…)
NASCAR did not take kindly to Denny Hamlin criticizing the sport's much-ballyhooed new race car.
Hamlin was fined $25,000 for "disparaging remarks" after the driver complained about the car and lack of passing at Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Hamlin, who drives the No. 11 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, finished third behind winner Carl Edwards but said afterward: "I don't want to be the pessimist, but [the new car] did not race as good" as the previous car. "You cannot get around the guy in front of you."
NASCAR on Thursday said Hamlin's remarks ran afoul of its rules prohibiting actions that are detrimental to the sport.
"While NASCAR gives its competitors ample leeway in voicing their opinions when it comes to a wide range of aspects about the sport, the sanctioning body will not tolerate publicly made comments by its drivers that denigrate the racing product."
This year's new car, dubbed Gen 6, replaced a car the Cup series had used for several years initially known as the Car of Tomorrow and later Generation 5.
NASCAR has high hopes that the Gen 6 car -- whose bodies more closely resemble the production cars sold to the public on dealers' lots -- will help boost the sport's popularity.
Hamlin acknowledged that the new car is "like what the Generation 5 was at the beginning" and that it would take time for Gibbs and other teams to make adjustments for the car to race better.
But on Sunday, Hamlin said: "I hate to be 'Denny Downer' but I just didn't pass that many cars today. That's the realistic fact of it."
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