Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Is Brad Keselowski losing respect among colleagues?
The most recent was two weeks ago at Charlotte where he chased the No. 2 Ford driver through the garage area with his No. 11 Toyota.
So Hamlin has somewhat of a unique perspective on what happens next in the drama filled Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship in the wake of the dust up between Keselowski and Jeff Gordon and their respective crews.
On Tuesday afternoon Hamlin came right out and said that Keselowski’s antics over the course of Chase season has set him up as pretty much the least respected driver in the NASCAR garage.
Hamlin said Keselowski has earned the ire of his peers not only for his aggressive actions on the track but for his “lack of remorse” in the aftermath of those actions.
“You’re just looking for someone to say, ‘Man, I’m sorry I ruined your day. I screwed up. I apologize,’ ” Hamlin said. “When that doesn’t get said, then it immediately lights a fire in your stomach that he doesn’t have any remorse.
“If Brad would have talked to Jeff, and said, ‘Man, I was going for a hole, it was my only chance, I’m really sorry it cut your tire.’ Instead, it was, ‘Oh well, sorry buddy. You left a hole.’
“If he did that to me, I would have had the same reaction as Jeff. No question.”
Hamlin said that while Keselowski espouses that he is only doing what he has to do to win a championship, there are limits and when he goes beyond those limits he has to expect consequences.
“So you just have to expect it,” he said. “It’s tough to win a championship if nobody likes you.
“You always have to just watch your mirror and that’s a tough way to race.”
Hamlin said early in his career he had a similar attitude as Keselowski but he soon learned that you have to have the respect of his peers if he wanted to succeed in NASCAR.
“I learned the very, very hard way about that,” he said. “I’ve made so many mistakes, it’s silly. But I’ve learned from them. And I feel like I’ve gotten the respect of my competitors because of that.
“And that goes a long way — trust me, I can guarantee you this: If it comes down to the end of the race and someone can help me or they can help Brad and I’ve got the respect of that person, they’re going to help me over Brad.”
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