Hamlin and Harvick tangle at Martinsville – to Hamlin’s detriment

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Brake check? What brake check?

After Monday’s snow-delayed STP 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway, fifth-place finisher Kevin Harvick pleaded innocent to an intentional brake check of fellow veteran Denny Hamlin late in the event won by Clint Bowyer.

“No, he hit me a couple times and I was just trying to make sure I had my car under control,” said Harvick, who slowed in front of Hamlin enough to damage the nose of Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota when the trailing driver couldn’t stop quickly enough.

When Hamlin bumped the No. 4 Ford, it was payback for similar treatment from Harvick, who was unabashed in his explanation of the initial contact with Hamlin’s car.

“He was on the bottom, and I knocked him out of the way,” Harvick said.

When Hamlin returned the favor and bumped Harvick, he got more than he bargained for.

“He just got to me and, I think, bumped me three or four times,” Hamlin said. “And then I was just bumping him back and he brake-checked me. I probably should have brake-checked him in the first place.

“They were just some light bumps here, and then slammed on the brakes. So classy.”

The damage to Hamlin’s car ruined a promising start at one of the driver’s best tracks. Hamlin made an extra pit stop to check for possible overheating of his car and dropped to 15th for a restart on Lap 392.

After leading 111 laps and winning the first stage of the race, Hamlin finished 12th.

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.