Following Jimmie Johnson's verbal sparring with Clint Bowyer at Dover earlier today, Denny Hamlin has also hit out at the Richard Childress Racing driver and his team for his suggestions for why his New Hampshire-winning car failed a NASCAR technical inspection.
While speaking to the media on Friday morning, Bowyer not only defended his team's case, but also hinted at issues with both Jimmie Johnson's and Hamlin's cars during the post-race inspection at Loudon, saying the Joe Gibbs driver's No. 11 Toyota had to be checked twice for height measurements before being given the OK by officials.
Hamlin, who finished second behind Bowyer in the event, said it was a "pretty standard" practice to allow a second check of the car's height after finishing the race and claimed his car was not found to be outside NASCAR's specifications, unlike Bowyer's winning Chevrolet.
"Our cars did have to go through twice and I'm just not sure whether it was [to inspect] the front or the back so I can't be 100 percent correct," said Hamlin. "Those cars get extremely, extremely hot and when they do they either settle down or they settle high. That's what that grace period is for and they let you go back through again to make sure because that is something that is an issue when the cars get hot.
"Our car came back and it was correct, but it wasn't built incorrect and that's one thing that their car was: built incorrectly."
Hamlin called Bowyer's argument that the magnitude of the rules violation on his car was not enhancing performance a "crock" and believes that his rival was simply caught after being warned by officials at Richmond, were Bowyer's car came too close to the tolerances set by the rules.
"You can talk about how small the thing was off and you can really try to say that 60 thousandths didn't help [Bowyer] perform any better – that is a crock," said Hamlin. "Let me tell you something, that helps a lot. I know when we gain five points of downforce our car runs a ton better. NASCAR has been very, very lenient, I feel like, on this car and they've given those guys chances. It's not Richmond.
"I think that they should just be happy that they're in the Chase at this point. They were warned and they were warned before Richmond. Everyone in the garage knows that. They're the ones who wanted to press the issue and get all they could to make sure they got in the Chase.
"They got in it and then they were busted. They kept going with it."
The Chase leader said last Sunday at Richmond his team had "the fastest legal car" at Loudon but supported NASCAR's consistency on not taking the win away from Bowyer. However, he expects all the unfolding controversy to have an impact not only on the 33 team but also on Bowyer's Richard Childress Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton, both also title contenders in the Chase this year.
"The more they reel the other teams in, the better off our team's going to be," said Hamlin. "It's going to affect the 29 [Harvick], the 31 [Burton] and the 33 [Bowyer]. I think the only difference is the 33 won the race so he went to the Tech Center.
"It's just one of those things where I think our team is very strong and we do it, I feel like, the right way. Sometimes that makes to where our performance is behind at times, but you know what, we're going to be 'green' [legal] all the time."
Hamlin also disputed RCR's claim about the tow truck causing damage to Bowyer's car and causing it to fail NASCAR's inspection this week. He said that a few weeks ago at Atlanta, after his car suffered an engine failure, it was towed back to the pits and although the trunk was "destroyed" according to Hamlin, the car was still within tolerances on inspection. He says that even if Bowyer's car was outside the box by 60 thousandths of an inch, NASCAR had to draw the line at some point.
"There has to be a point where it's black and white. It's no longer gray," said Hamlin. "If [NASCAR] let them get away with this 60 thousandths of an inch, then when do you stop, when do you break it and say, 'Now we have to penalize'? There has to be a point in which they say, 'This is it, this is the tolerance, if you go past it, you're in trouble.'
"If they let him go, then they're just going to open up the whole field to let them do whatever they want. That's why some teams choose to get closer to that line than others – because there are things that happen out on the racetrack. There are variables that happen during the race that could make you be wrong, but you're taking that risk.
"If you're going to go out on the racetrack and take the risk of, 'I can't afford to get one bump or my car's going to be illegal,' that's a risk that ain't worth taking. That's why we don't do it with our organization."
Following his words in front of the media, Hamlin posted on his Twitter page that he has no hard feelings against Bowyer despite his comments.
"FYI I have nothing against Bowyer. I like him as a driver and person," Hamlin tweeted. "He didn't build the cars so I feel bad for him."