My Brain on NASCAR: Hamlin-Patrick feud sweet as honey

col-cathyelliott (2) The opportunity to talk about my favorite incident of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season so far passed me by when Joey Logano won his first-ever Daytona 500 on Feb. 22.

A number of celebrated Cup Series champions – including Rusty Wallace, Terry and Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski – have never won the 500, so when Logano succeeded where they have failed, it was big news indeed.

Thank Heaven for Martinsville. The historic short track always gives us something to talk about, and on March 29 “The Paperclip” came hoppin’ on down the bunny trail with an early Easter gift. At the end of the day, the two drivers earning the biggest headlines were the same little hotheads I had to pass over in February: Denny Hamlin and Danica Patrick.

Hamlin took the checkered flag and Patrick finished seventh, so everything was sunshine and rainbows after the race. They had a few kind and congratulatory public comments for one another, and probably no one would have been particularly surprised if an impromptu round or two of “Kumbaya” had broken out on pit road.

It was quite a different scene in February when, following the second Budweiser Duel qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway, Patrick charged down pit road to accuse Hamlin of spinning her out. A similar incident during practice, also involving Hamlin, had forced Danica into a backup car, so basically the score was 2-0 in the Hamlin-Patrick matchup. Or 0-2, depending on which team you prefer.

I just love silly NASCAR fights. They are one of my very favorite things to write about, and this one was a classic.

On one side you had tiny Danica Patrick physically putting her hands on Hamlin – some reports said she grabbed him by the lapels, which was almost certainly the first time I’ve seen the word “lapels” used in any serious NASCAR coverage – and on the other side you had Denny putting his arm around her and calling her “Honey.”

Where do I even start? To borrow a line from Seinfeld, this was gold, Jerry. I actually thought Patrick showed a lot of restraint in that moment, and immediately began to wonder how Cale Yarborough would have responded had one of the Allison brothers called him “Honey” after their historic confrontation at Daytona back in 1979. That, my friends, would not have been pretty.

But time moves on and so does the racing season. Despite a marquee driver roster which includes Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and currently injured Kyle Busch in addition to Hamlin, the Martinsville victory broke a 31-race losing streak for Joe Gibbs Racing. The team is facing some stress on the personal side; it was recently disclosed that Gibbs’ son J.D. is undergoing treatment for an unspecified neurological condition.

“It’s a big win for Gibbs and Toyota. It’s been a rough year for both of us, and really myself. We’re just not used to not having success, and especially with the resources that we have,” Hamlin said after the race. “We’re excited. We’re excited about what we’ve got going on and what’s to come for us.”

Meanwhile, Stewart-Haas Racing was enjoying a hefty share of the day’s spotlight as Patrick fought her way to a seventh-place finish, tying Janet Guthrie for the most top-10s by a woman in a premier division race. You don’t see an awful lot of headlines celebrating seventh place, but it’s progress, I guess.

The punchline of the day was the fact that Patrick’s three teammates – Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick – all finished behind her. Those guys have a combined total of 103 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and five NSCS championships, but at tricky little Martinsville Speedway, Danica came out on top.

Possibly the only thing that could have made it sweeter was if she had given one (or all) of them a sympathetic hug and called them “Honey.” Martinsville is famous for hot dogs rather than desserts, but at this legendary track where anything can happen, that really would have been the icing on the cake.

Cathy Elliott is the former director of public relations for Darlington Raceway and author of the books Chicken Soup for the Soul: NASCAR and Darlington Raceway: Too Tough To Tame. Contact her at cathyelliott@hotmail.com.

Comments

comments

Pelicans fail to finish .500 after losing first-half finale

Pelicans fail to finish .500 after losing first-half finaleThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans dropped their final game of the [more]

Ibarrondo comes to rescue to rally first-place Mutiny

Ibarrondo comes to rescue to rally first-place Mutiny The Myrtle Beach Mutiny needed a wake-up call late Saturday [more]

Pelicans split twinbill with Mudcats, play finale today

Pelicans split twinbill with Mudcats, play finale todayAfter the Myrtle Beach Pelicans fell 2-1 to the Carolina [more]

CCU's Biermann, Lancaster make All-American squad

CCU's Biermann, Lancaster make All-American squadCoastal Carolina shortstop Seth Lancaster and designated hitter Zach Biermann [more]

Pelicans lose fifth straight, play doubleheader today

Pelicans lose fifth straight, play doubleheader todayVictor Diaz's seven strong innings for the Carolina Mudcats were [more]

All-County Boys Tennis: Johnson, MB duo top list

All-County Boys Tennis: Johnson, MB duo top listThe future looks bright for the sport of high school [more]

Hess carves his way to Team USA surfing nod

Hess carves his way to Team USA surfing nodCarter Hess carved his way to a spot on the [more]

Pelicans' bullpen spoils Thompson's perfect start

Pelicans' bullpen spoils Thompson's perfect startAfter Keegan Thompson was removed following seven perfect innings for [more]

Piggot feasts, scores four goals to lead Mutiny win

Piggot feasts, scores four goals to lead Mutiny winThe Myrtle Beach Mutiny rolled to a 6-0 victory over [more]

CCU trio makes all-region; Lancaster an All-American

CCU trio makes all-region; Lancaster an All-AmericanCoastal Carolina shortstop Seth Lancaster was named to the Perfect [more]

Braves' icons Avery, Jones to appear at Pelicans game

Braves' icons Avery, Jones to appear at Pelicans gameThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans will welcome former MLB All-Stars and [more]

Coastal guard Labinowicz announces plan to transfer

Coastal guard Labinowicz announces plan to transferCoastal Carolina University men's basketball player Artur Labinowicz plans to [more]

Report: Myrtle Beach Bowl 'near lock' for 2020 kickoff

Report: Myrtle Beach Bowl 'near lock' for 2020 kickoffIn yet another development in the Grand Strand's booming sports [more]

Adaptive surfers depart for US Surfing Championship

Adaptive surfers depart for US Surfing ChampionshipLocal surfers, volunteers, and family members gathered at the Charleston [more]

All-County Boys Golf: MB's Jarman trades bat for club

All-County Boys Golf: MB's Jarman trades bat for clubIf things had worked out differently, Myrtle Beach High senior [more]

Gamecocks' season ends one win shy of Omaha

Gamecocks' season ends one win shy of OmahaThe University of South Carolina baseball team saw its season [more]

Pelicans' Ademan, Pereda, Peyton make all-star team

Pelicans' Ademan, Pereda, Peyton make all-star teamMyrtle Beach catcher Jhonny Pereda, right-hander Tyler Peyton and infielder [more]

Johnson wins at St. Jude, recaptures No. 1 ranking

Johnson wins at St. Jude, recaptures No. 1 rankingFormer Coastal Carolina two-time All-American and Myrtle Beach resident Dustin [more]

Gamecocks slam their way into final game with Hogs

Gamecocks slam their way into final game with HogsThe South Carolina baseball team scored five runs in the [more]

Pelicans win ninth straight, make late run at first place

Pelicans win ninth straight, make late run at first placeThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans racked up their ninth straight win [more]

All-County Girls Soccer: Gordon nets record, POY

All-County Girls Soccer: Gordon nets record, POYBlair Mueller remembers her first day on the job as [more]

Pelicans hammer their way to eighth straight victory

Pelicans hammer their way to eighth straight victoryKevonte Mitchell lashed three extra-base hits and the Myrtle Beach [more]

Gamecocks drop opener, face elimination Sunday

Gamecocks drop opener, face elimination SundayArkansas scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh [more]

Pelicans extend win streak to seven in walk-off thriller

Pelicans extend win streak to seven in walk-off thrillerAramis Ademan tied the game with a three-run home run [more]

All-County Boys Soccer: Matlashewski tops team

All-County Boys Soccer: Matlashewski tops teamGrand Strand Sports Report and Waccamaw Publishers are teaming up [more]

Pelicans fail to finish .500 after losing first-half finale

Pelicans fail to finish .500 after losing first-half finaleThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans dropped their final game of the [more]

Ibarrondo comes to rescue to rally first-place Mutiny

Ibarrondo comes to rescue to rally first-place Mutiny The Myrtle Beach Mutiny needed a wake-up call late Saturday [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach