Denny Hamlin leads the pack here, but he is not a big fan of NASCAR's… (Jonathan Ferrey / Getty…)
After being fined $25,000 by NASCAR for criticizing the sport's new race car, driver Denny Hamlin is digging in his heels -- with support from fans on social media.
After last Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway, NASCAR levied the fine for what it termed "disparaging remarks" by Hamlin that were "detrimental" to the sport.
Among other things, Hamlin -- who finished third in the race in his No. 11 Toyota -- complained that the new car made it difficult to pass other drivers.
Hamlin told reporters Thursday in Las Vegas, site of the next Sprint Cup Series race this Sunday, that he would not pay the fine.
In a lengthy tweet early Friday, Hamlin said he "was severely disrespected by NASCAR by getting fined," and reiterated that he "would not pay the fine. I stand by that and will go through the process of appealing."
"I feel as if today NASCAR lost one of its biggest supporters vocally of where our sport is headed," said Hamlin, a 32-year-old Virginian. "Trust me, this is not about the money. It's much deeper."
The dispute prompted Hamlin's supporters on Twitter to form a new topic with the hashtag #StandWithDenny, and Hamlin later tweeted, "And for the record I love the #StandWithDenny. Y'all are awesome."
Tiger Woods makes putting tips from Steve Stricker work
Transgender MMA fighter puts California panel on the spot
Michael Jordan marriage: He and Yvette Prieto take another step