Denny Hamlin says he is not letting Kevin Harvick play mind games with him following their clash on Saturday during NASCAR Cup practice at Dover.
Hamlin and Harvick clashed on track then confronted each other in the garage on Friday, but Hamlin says the altercation was unnecessary for both as they ended up losing nearly half of the second practice session of the weekend while repairs were made to their cars.
He believes Harvick was reacting to what he said on Friday about the penalties given to his teammate Clint Bowyer, but does not regret speaking his mind.
"I think it was a lot of frustrated team members and that's going to be part of it," said Hamlin "Of course, it's unnecessary because it didn't help either one of the race teams – us having to work on racecars or anything like that.
"I spoke my mind yesterday and I felt like I said a lot of truth. A lot of times that's not popular with the teams that are involved. It's something that I've always done, to speak my mind, and it's not always in my best interest to do that. The thing is now that we just move on. We get our car fixed. We're getting some of our speed back and now the goal is to move on."
Hamlin said that before the practice session started he was warned by Harvick's crew, one member of the No. 29 team wishing him 'good luck' before he rolled out of the garage. But he didn't elaborate on what was said between Harvick, him and their teams' crew members.
"There was a lot of cursing," said Hamlin. "That's all that there really was being said. There was nothing really logical being said inside with the two teams. Nothing's ever going to come of it.
"I had a hint. Their crew guys, they stare and make a couple comments right before. He [Kevin Harvick] got into me on pit road even before we left the track so I knew we were going to have to deal with some issues.
"It's unnecessary that the team guys have to get involved in it, but we're just going to keep focused on winning a championship."
Hamlin was defiant ahead of Sunday's race, where he believes he has more speed that his Richard Childress Racing rivals. During the final practice session of the weekend, Hamlin was seventh fastest, with Harvick 15th, Bowyer second and their RCR teammate Jeff Burton third.
Hamlin claims what happened on Saturday won't distract either him or his team from their focus on winning this year's Cup title, as he believes Harvick is simply trying to dent him mentally.
"Our job is still to win the championship and we look pretty good on speed, especially compared to those guys," said Hamlin. "I think we're going to be OK. We have to just stay focused. That's the biggest thing to me, those guys play those games and they've been in the sport a long time and they know how to play these games and get into someone's head that's beating you right now. I think that was just a small effort on their part."
While Hamlin will see the green flag wave from fourth on the grid on Sunday, Harvick will start the second race of the championship Chase back in 34th.