Hamlin honors NASCAR sentence for anti-Asian meme

DOVER, Dell ( Associated Press) – Denny Hamlin said someone sent him an anti-Asian meme that made fun of Kyle Larson’s driving and it went off without a hitch – from his mobile phone to Twitter.

“I thought it was hilarious,” Hamlin said. “Plus, it’s insensitive. I understand.”

He didn’t laugh for long. NASCAR and scores of fans and casual observers who attacked Hamlin for linking Larsen’s ancestry—he’s half Japanese—with an offensive stereotype involving Asian drivers certainly didn’t find the meme funny.

Hamlin is headed to NASCAR-mandated sensitivity training after posting an anti-Asian meme from the television comedy “Family Guy” to criticize Larson’s driving at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend.

“I respect their decision. I understand where they are with it,” Hamlin said Saturday at Dover Motor Speedway.

Hamlin deleted the tweet on Monday night and apologized.

Larsen extended the track several lanes in an aggressive move that caused a wreck at Talladega.

“I saw the correlation in driving. That was it,” Hamlin said. “I didn’t even think twice about the second (part). That’s the insensitive part, isn’t it? I guess whoever made it, made it.” Putting your name in front of a woman who speaks Asian. I think you’re making fun of it.”

Hamlin is a three-time Daytona 500 winner who drives a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. He also owns 23XI Racing with Michael Jordan and fields two cars backed by the Japanese automaker – one driven by Bubba Wallace, the only black driver at NASCAR’s top level.

In the meme, an Asian woman speaks choppy English before turning into six lanes of traffic without warning, reflecting racist stereotypes about Asian drivers. It has long been taken down on all streaming platforms but the clip can still be found on YouTube. Larson’s name was put on the female driver in the meme.

It was up to about seven hours before Hamlin’s tweet was deleted.

“I certainly understand how some people might find this offensive,” Hamlin said. “If it’s one, it’s one too many.”

Hamlin wanted to keep his conversation with Larsen a secret.

“No hard feelings from me,” Larson said. “I think when they put it there, they realized how offensive it could be.”

Larson, of course, was suspended for most of the 2020 season for using racial slurs and lost his ride driving to Chip Ganassi, his sponsors, and needed to complete a sensitivity training course for reinstatement. Was. Larsson returned to sport driving for Hendricks Motorsports and won the 2021 Cup Championship.

Larson is a friend of Hamlin and said of the meme, “I personally wasn’t offended by it.”

“I think NASCAR did what they had to do and I appreciate Denny’s taking steps to learn from that,” he said. “Obviously, it was just bad judgment on their part. I think being in the position we’re in, you have to be very careful with what you put out in front of the public. I know “He’s going to learn a lot from here in the next few weeks. I think we’re ready to move on from that and focus on racing.”

Larson said Hamlin learned that there are “millions of other people out there, that a tweet like this might offend.”

NASCAR has a section in its rulebook that says its members “shall not make public statements and/or communications that reflect that person’s race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age, or disability.” Situation.”

“I understand it all. I didn’t think it fell into that category,” Hamlin said. “Certainly, I understand his decision.”

Hamlin volunteered to participate in voluntary diversity training when he started 22XI Racing for his deeper understanding and sensitivity to racial and complex cultural issues.

“I went with the best in the country,” he said.

Hamlin might want to ring him again.

contract negotiation

Kyle Bush wore a black T-shirt with “Clickbait” printed on the front.

The two-time Cup champion made NASCAR headlines — and cliques — when he opened up about his unsatisfactory contract talks with Joe Gibbs Racing last week and his cloudy future in the series.

Bush gave a brief, cryptic reply to his 2023 plans, saying he wanted to know his plans “tomorrow” and “if it happens. If it doesn’t, then no. Goodbye.”

The owner of perhaps NASCAR’s most prickly personality, Bush was vague about a conversation he had with JGR this week at Dover on Saturday.

“There were some discussions and such,” he said. “Nothing to elaborate. All good.”

Busch has been with JGR for 14 years and the team was rewarded with the 2015 and 2019 Cup championships. Busch leads all active drivers with 60 cup wins, and has 223 victories in NASCAR’s three national series.

Bush was clearly disappointed last week at Talladega when he pressed for a possible retirement.

“It frustrates me that short comments are sometimes taken out of context,” he said before Saturday’s practice. “I answered the question, you know—the question. I didn’t elaborate. Storytelling requires detail. And you can tell the story in as few words as you want.”

Bush has been sponsored by M&M since joining Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008, but the company informed the team ahead of the season that it was leaving NASCAR later this year. This launched a sponsorship search at JGR that would be instrumental in retaining Busch. Bush is tied for victory with Richard Petty for 18 consecutive seasons.

Will he make it 19? Bush let loose when asked about Hall of Fame qualifications. Drivers who have competed in NASCAR for at least 10 years and have been retired for two years are eligible to enroll in the hall. Is Bush, who certainly has credentials, Hall of Fame worthy?

“I guess I’ll know in 12 years,” Bush said, then waited a beat, “or in three.”


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