One comment was made as a joke. The follow up comment was made as a response. What was an intense battle on the final lap at Daytona has now become a story that has overshadowed the second race of the season.
And it has also become nothing more than a feud one may expect in the halls of a high school.
When Denny Hamlin made the comment about how may drivers take medication to actually stay focused when racing, he made it as a joke, not knowing the true consequences that could come of it. There’s no secret that NASCAR over the years since instituting it’s substance abuse policy that drivers have suffered punishment for taking anything that isn’t approved. Look at what A.J. Allmendinger had to go through when he was suspended years ago from the sport and his ride at Penske.
Maybe he didn’t mean it in that sense, but the wheels began turning.
Then when the race is over, and Hamlin made the claims of Bubba Wallace coming down on him for the position, the wheels began turning again.
At that point, it was blurted out by Wallace himself, “He needs to take some Adderall for that one.”
Not only were the wheels turning at that point, but were hooked up and moving. The feud not only intensified, but it also took turns that simply were based in idiocy and hypocrisy.
Neither driver has spoken to the other, like a couple teenage girls. Hamlin then removed Wallace from his golf league. Well, it was more like it went through channels before getting to Wallace, as in about six people before Wallace heard about it. The way he found out can be related to when young kids whispered in each others’ ears and the message changed as it went from mouth to mouth.
Then, as though to save himself from the humiliation, Wallace removed himself from playing basketball at Hamlin’s home.
Neither of the two have said a word since Sunday’s brief argument outside the media center at Daytona, and probably won’t until either they are forced to, or another incident happens on track between the two drivers.
When did this become nothing more than a high school fight?
It’s a feud that has become ridiculous in what has come of it. Hamlin and Wallace have been treating one another as if the other has stolen the other’s girlfriend. It’s becoming an episode of “Fear Thy Neighbor” because the feud has started out over something small, and has blown up into something no one has expected, or in a way wanted. The sad part is that there’s no telling when, or if, this feud will end, or where it will go from here.
That’s not to say that neither driver is at fault, because in reality they both have.
Hamlin even insinuating that drivers take the amphetamine creates controversy in itself, because now NASCAR officials are going to be on alert to possibly see how true that “joking” statement is. So now Hamlin could be the one to blame if some drivers, including himself, test positive for it or any other kind of medication that could be considered risky.
On the opposite end of that, Wallace is not free from it because to then make a statement about another driver, he probably in a way deserved the response by Hamlin.
But to then have Hamlin not be direct in response to not wanting to be around Wallace, for him to decide to eliminate him from a charity golf outing that he has multiple times a year, and not actually tell him that decision himself, it is selfish. It also shows his lack of respect to actually not discuss the situation, whether it be what happened on the track or in the garage area.
Wallace had the decency to actually try and extend the olive branch to actually talk about what happened. In return, Hamlin gave the silent treatment.
It almost was to the point that Hamlin was saying, “If you want to talk to me, you’ll have to talk to my agent/attorney.”
That may seem a stretch, but it’s how he’s been acting.
Now, the two drivers are back at the track, still not talking, and trying to focus on the task at hand to win on Sunday in Atlanta. But, they can’t escape the topic, and probably at some point, won’t escape one another on the track. What they need to do is be smart about racing one another, because any action that could put the other in jeopardy will immediately be ridiculed, and harped on by everyone.
What they also need to do is actually talk, both as competitors and as men, and settle this. It’s sad when what was a great race instead gets overshadowed by comments, and now a feud that has become more of a high school drama.
Hamlin, and Wallace, both need to just move on. They aren’t 18, and certainly don’t need the principal to be there to mediate.