Hamlin calls lobsters a ‘big scorpion’

LOUDON, NH - JULY 16: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton's 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 16, 2017 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

LOUDON, N.H. – If Denny Hamlin wins Sunday’s ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN), he’ll have to face his fear.

Not on the race track, mind you. In Victory Lane.

As part of its post-race ceremony, the Magic Mile awards the winning driver a gigantic live lobster. When Hamlin won at New Hampshire in July, he recoiled when crew chief Mike Wheeler tried to hand him the 22-pound prize.

Understand that Hamlin hates lobsters. He can’t eat if someone is consuming a lobster at a nearby table. And though he finally posed for a few photos with the giant lobster after the summer race, it was not an experience the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota relished.

So even if Hamlin wins the second race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and punches his ticket to the next round, he’ll visit Victory Lane with a distinct sense of dread, even though the lobster’s claws are held firmly shut by large rubber bands.

“Yeah, I’ve never really liked them to begin with,” Hamlin said. “I don’t like the taste of them. I don’t – I just don’t like looking at them. They have pincers, really, so I don’t like anything that’s ugly and has pincers.

“I don’t know – it’s just a big scorpion in my mind. I try to stay away from them and, yeah, I’ve had some interesting moments with them for sure that I don’t care to recall or bring back up.”

Of course, those who might want to play a practical joke on Hamlin know how to devise a prank that’s guaranteed to be effective.

A lobster once appeared mysteriously in the toilet in Hamlin’s motor coach.

“I’ve had one in my toilet before, yes,” Hamlin said. “It was disturbing.”

Coincidentally, Monday happens to be National Lobster Day.

Hamlin won’t be celebrating.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.