DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—Maybe Denny Hamlin was simply trying to smooth the waters after his run-in with Danica Patrick in Thursday night’s second Duel at Daytona 150-mile qualifying races.
Or perhaps his after-the-fact tweets were slightly tongue-in-cheek, which, knowing Hamlin, wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility.
“On the streets of real life cops always give the ticket to the car behind in a accident,” Hamlin posted on his Twitter feed late Thursday night. “We will use that logic on this one. #tooclose #mybad”
Martin Truex Jr., who finished fifth in the second Duel, weighed in shortly thereafter. “Denny you can push me anytime,” Truex tweeted.
“Wow … You were going somewhere in a hurry … NOTED,” Hamlin replied.
There’s no doubt Hamlin and Patrick were racing in extremely tight quarters late in Thursday night’s race, which set the field for Sunday’s Daytona 500 (1 p.m. on FOX). Hamlin was following Patrick closely, made a move to the inside and took the air off the spoiler on Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet.
Patrick spun and slid through the infield grass, but with quick repair work by her crew and a stout push from Stewart-Haas teammate Kurt Busch, she rallied to finish 10th and qualified for Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500.
After watching video of the incident, Hamlin added another tweet.
“Folks I watched it back and I was in the drivers seat so I know … I did NOT hit her. BUT I was close, too close obviously.”