Denny Hamlin joins Jason Smith & Doug Gottlieb (in for the Dan Patrick Show) to talk in-depth about the challenges he faces racing in a post-COVID-19 world. Hamlin also addresses Donald Trump's tweet directed at Bubba Wallace as well as some of the more significant issues in society around the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
The racing world is undergoing its fair share of challenges in this era of COVID-19. NASCAR's recent push to move on from the USA's unfortunate past meant retiring the Confederate Flag and, most recently, jumping out in front of any injustice. Denny Hamlin address these issues starting first with Donald Trump's tweet directed at Bubba Wallace:
Denny Hamlin: You know, I just kinda sighed. That was about it...I really didn't have any particular reaction from it. I kinda stayed out of it. I think that everything that the racing industry has said still reigns true.
When asked to address his thoughts on the different parts of the US being under quarantine and political unrest, Hamlin said the following:
Denny Hamlin: We've tried our best to keep the distractions as far away as possible...That's essentially where I feel like we've been so strong. We've kept ourselves sheltered from that type of stuff, and it's kinda equated to a lot of on-track success.
Hamlin speaks on the Bubba Wallace story and the banning of the Confederate Flag from NASCAR:
Denny Hamlin: With everything that went on in our country with the George Floyd situation and others, I think that it just brought a heightened awareness. The Confederate Flag and other issues that you speak of have been thought about and talked about in our sport for many years. With everything that has gone on and us trying to be inclusive as we can to everyone, it just became the right time to make the change. It's unfortunate that it took lost lives for people to really stand up and start making differences, but to me, that's what George Floyd and Breonna Taylor's legacy is going to be. They made true change in our country. For me personally, it had and effect. I went to the National Civil Rights Museum voluntarily. My promise was I was going to listen. I wanted to listen by actually putting action behind it, and so in Talledega a few weeks ago, we had the National Civil Rights Museum on the car after I went and visited it there. It really educated me on America's history, and I encourage people to go there when they reopen because it's great information for everyone to go see and have.
Hamlin also talks about the racing industry as a whole restarting after the shutdown due to COVID-19
Denny Hamlin: Everyone has just adapted and adapted well. I think we've kept our process the same no matter whether there's been practice or no practice. The communication has stayed the same and that's why we're having the success that we're having.
Finally, Hamlin talks about the one good thing that came from COVID-19 protocols in racing:
Denny Hamlin: I don't think that we'll ever be at a venue for three days again. That's really tough on the team financially. They've got so many expenses that each set of tires that we burn through is probably $2500. And we burn through 3 or 4 of those during practice. The social distancing thing will remain intact until there's probably a vaccine which who knows when that will be. I don't know what the new normal is going to be, but I think the world and society is going to have a new normal as a whole. Everyone's workspace is going to be different, including ours, and so I don't know what that's going to look like, but I don't think we'll ever go back to the way it was.