Denny Hamlin gets into social media altercation with track executive

Before this weekend's Cook Out 400 Denny Hamlin got into a social media altercation with Speedway Motorsports Chief Executive Officer, Marcus Smith.

Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin

Controversy has surrounded the Sonoma Raceway this week even though NASCAR is not scheduled to visit the Californian circuit until the start of June.

Sonoma Raceway was repaved back in February of this year. However, reports have already started to come out that portions of the repaved surface have already started to come apart.

Sonoma Raceway is owned by Speedway Motorsports, the same company that owns ten circuits that the NASCAR Cup Series uses.

Just before racing began this weekend at Martinsville Speedway the chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports, Marcus Smith, and NASCAR Cup Series driver, Denny Hamlin got into a social media argument over the resurfacing of Sonoma.

Talking about the reports out of Sonoma Raceway Hamlin said on X: “When paving on a budget goes wrong. North Wilkesboro will be next.”

Smith then responded to the comments made by Hamlin about the situation by saying: “This is a great post from somebody who doesn’t know all the information. Ignorance on display for the world to see!”

Hamlin would not let the matter rest there and continued by referencing Speedway Motorsports reconfiguration record.

The social media discussion then turned personal as Smith came back at Hamlin with comments about his racing career: “Yes we take risks. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. We’ve seen your attempts of the championship as well. When you have a chance, maybe you could give me some golf tips.”

Hamlin continued to escalate the situation and mentioned Smiths' late father and former CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Ollen Bruton Smith: “Here’s your tip. Let someone else run your business before you blow everything your dad gave you.”

After taking another jab at Hamlin not having a Cup title by calling him an “almost NASCAR Champion” Smith decided to delete his posts on X about the matter and said: “I shouldn’t let social media conversations get personal, so I deleted those posts.”

Hamlin later took responsibility for his side of the social media argument by saying: “I’ll definitely take responsibility for my part in it. It got more personal than it should have for sure.”

Hamlin has also described how the social media back and forth had underlying tension due to NASCAR teams seeking more money to stay in the sport as they only receive 25% of the media rights money, whereas tracks receive 65% and NASCAR themselves only 10%.

“Certainly, there was some underlying frustration from my standpoint that I let get the better of me,” Hamlin told the media.

“No doubt about it. Certainly, didn’t need to get personal, but it kind of took a turn for that pretty quick. So certainly, regrettable from my standpoint.

“Between the tracks and NASCAR, there’s nearly half a billion dollars in profit and I hate to see that teams are struggling, swimming upstream. It’s tough because we’re in a fight. It’s not pretty, not going to be pretty. There’s some underlying frustration there that I kind of let go out at the wrong way.”

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