Denny Hamlin came under fire on Monday night after celebrating his Dayton 500 win while Ryan Newman was still stuck in his wrecked car following a horrifying crash. The wreck occurred on the final lap of the race, and while many feared for Newman’s life, Hamlin was seen celebrating with his team.
After the race, Hamlin took to Twitter to attempt to clear the air about what went down.
“First a foremost I want to give well wishes and prayers to @RyanJNewman. I had absolutely NO IDEA of the severity of the crash until I got to victory lane. There’s very little communication after the finish and i had already unhooked my radio. It’s not anyone’s fault,” he wrote.
First a foremost I want to give well wishes and prayers to @RyanJNewman. I had absolutely NO IDEA of the severity of the crash until I got to victory lane. There’s very little communication after the finish and i had already unhooked my radio. It’s not anyone’s fault. 🙏Rocket
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) February 18, 2020
Fans in Hamlin’s mentions were still update about the situation.
“NASCAR should be ashamed to allow for a circus in victory lane after a crash like that. Silly confetti and a cheesy interview? Go to your hauler and wait until the outcome is known,” one said.
“I find it hard to believe your eyes don’t work that well, that you miss the life saving efforts hundreds of feet from where you are doing donuts. Are you 110% sure you didn’t accidentally show your true colors?” another asked.
Still others chimed in to defend Hamlin.
“Not even a fan of you…but there is no way anyone should be mad at you. You raced hard and won the race. You had no idea how bad the wreck was. Congrats to you & your team. Speedy recovery and [prayers] to @RyanJNewman!” one said.
“Denny you did nothing wrong! Congratulations on the win. I know that any of you would give it all back, for this to never have happened. God Bless all of you!!” another added.
“Congrats Denny. Really happy for you. Sorry about this situation for you, I assure you most everyone else would’ve probably done the same not knowing the severity. Try to enjoy this. You’ve made history tonight,” a third said.
Here is the final lap of the Daytona 500 in which Ryan Newman's car was flipped at the line.
We will continue to keep you updated on his status as we learn more. pic.twitter.com/qkEwQBpoP0
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) February 18, 2020
Joe Gibbs, who owns the team that Hamlin races for, talked about the celebration afterward.
“I knew that there was a (wreck), but I never even focused over there (by Newman’s car),” Gibbs said. “I was focused on our car, and everybody started celebrating it around us. So I said to everybody out there, some people may have saw us and said, ‘Well, these guys are celebrating when there’s this serious issue going on.’
“So, I say to everybody out there, some people may have saw us and said, ‘Those guys are celebrating when there’s a serious issue going on.’ So I apologize to everybody, but we really didn’t know,” he added. “We got in the winner’s circle, and then that’s when people told us. I wanted to explain that to everyone. It makes it so hard. Such a close-knit community, you know everybody.”