Dale Earnhardt Jr. Defends Denny Hamlin's Win Following Ryan Newman's Crash at Daytona 500

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has Denny Hamlin's back when it comes to his Daytona 500 celebration. The two-time Daytona 500 winner was on NBC Sports to talk about Hamlin celebrating his win after Ryan Newman suffered injuries in a scary crash. Earnhardt believes Hamlin did nothing wrong, but appreciates team owner Joe Gibbs coming out and apologizing.

"I didn't feel like that was deserving," Earnhardt said when talking about Hamlin getting a lot of backlash for his celebration. "I appreciate Joe Gibbs issuing an apology, but I didn't feel it was necessary. But in this day and time, it is. People get triggered so easily."

Earnhardt knows about Daytona 500 crashes as his father died due to a crash he was involved in during the 2001 race. Michael Waltrip won the race and was seen celebrating while Earnhardt was being attended to. Like the Newman crash, Earnhardt crashed during the final lap of the race.

"Michael celebrated," Earnhardt continued. "He was in Victory Lane. The entire team celebrated what was owned by my dad before they were finally getting the right information. No one ever in that moment ever went 'how dare Michael be celebrating until we figure out what's going on with Earnhardt.'

For the 2001 Daytona 500, it was a different time as Earnhardt mentioned, and because of that, people will react to the same situation differently. But Earnhardt feels like Hamlin should not be blamed for celebrating his third Daytona 500 victory.

"I think they're being overly critical of Denny and his team," Earnhardt stated. "It's unfortunate in someone in that camp did not get to Denny quicker and tell him to pause and hold on his celebration. It's unfortunate, but it's how it played out."

Hamlin saw this Tweet and he thanked Earnhardt for his support.


"Thank you [Dale Earnhardt Jr.]," Hamlin wrote. "It was an unusual set of circumstances and wish we had it to do all over again. I was sitting in my car waiting on TV and when they didn't show up and team guys came over I got out. Couple min later I learned that it was serious."

The good news is Newman was able to walk out of the hospital on Wednesday afternoon and it looks like he's going to be 100 percent healthy in the near future.