Dale Earnhardt Jr. has come to the defense of Denny Hamlin following his celebratory win at the Daytona 500 Monday night. However, the win came after Ryan Newman crashed in the final seconds of the race. While Newman was taken to a hospital and his condition remained unknown, Hamlin celebrated his victory, which generated some blowback online.
Now, Earnhardt has spoken to NBC Sports about the ordeal.
"That was just so unfortunate the fallout from that," Earnhardt said regarding the criticism leveled at Hamlin and his team. "I think back to 2001 when dad had his accident and Michael Waltrip had made it all the way to victory lane himself and celebrating what he feels like was the most incredible moment of his life and waiting on dad to walk right into that victory lane at any moment to celebrate with him. I think I can tell you … how that process can happen, how what happened with Denny and his team can easily happen."
"There's a lot of other similar situations that are much like that to compare that to that make it understandable to what played out with Denny and his team," Earnhardt concluded.
Hamlin himself had defended his win, as well as attempted to clarify that he wasn't aware of Newman's situation at the time.
"There's very little communication after the finish, and I had already unhooked my radio," Hamlin tweeted. "It's not anyone's fault."
Earnhardt had also spoken up about Newman's condition. While it was reported on Tuesday that the was "awake and speaking" to both family and physicians, Earnhardt stated quite clearly that he would like to confirm the situation for himself.
"I just can't stop thinking about Ryan and waiting on more news and more information and when we can see him, when can we physically talk to Ryan and put our own eyes on him and get a chance to see how he's doing," he told NBC Sports earlier today.0comments
"We've established that over the last 10 years. That's when cars get airborne," Newman explained. "They raised the back of the cars up an inch and it just packs more air underneath them. I hope we keep them on the ground and get lucky because I don't think they've done a good job of keeping them on the ground or making an effort to keep them on the ground."