It was a wild race weekend. USA Today
CHESAPEAKE, Virginia (CNN) - NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin and Joe Gibbs Racing owner Joe Gibbs apologized Saturday night for the embrace following Hamlin's victory in the Daytona 500 earlier this week.
Ryan Newman said the embrace in which Hamlin ran over Newman's leg the race was "an accident." Both men raced each other hard early in Thursday's race at Daytona International Speedway in Florida. Newman was driving out of the way and was hit by Hamlin's car that later went airborne and crashed into the catch fence.
Newman's car was heavily damaged and he dropped out of the race.
"I was the one who had to make the move to get to the outside lane," Hamlin said. "Once I got to the outside lane, I obviously knew Ryan was going to move up in the corner to follow me. That's what racers do."
Newman drove his car to the back of Hamlin and made contact, resulting in Hamlin's car going airborne and striking Newman's car and then careening into the catch fence.
"I believe it was an accident," Hamlin said Saturday night. "I did not want to get my foot underneath him and have him go down the fence. I don't want to start a war with our peers. But he completely sideswiped me."
Gibbs said the two have spoken.
"I don't think you can ever run over somebody in any sport without someone being a little ticked off and taking exception to it," he said. "I think we have reached a point with NASCAR and team that we have to recognize it. There are two people. He is upset, I'm upset. Denny knows it. I have called him to say I'm sorry. It doesn't matter where it was, I've told him I'm sorry. What is important is if he moves on, which I know he will. As a human being, we move on and we move forward."
Newman posted a photo of himself with doctors on Facebook with the caption: "As much as I would love to put this behind me, I don't. I'd like to think after so many years in this business, someone would know better than to come on my car."
He wrote: "It's ridiculous that some people are choosing to laugh at us like we don't have a family. ... The best medicine for my broken leg & torn knee is a decent sense of humor. I hope you've learned that lesson from this."
Newman later posted a message saying: "Being at peace with how I handled that situation does not mean I cannot feel anger and hurt for this very unfortunate situation.
"What I do know is these things are strictly accidents. When we race someone, we both know there will be occasional contact. It is not uncommon for a driver to have broken ribs, and that did happen Thursday night.
"What I don't understand is to purposely try to ram another driver into the wall so he can get out of the way. After what Denny and I both did, to then spend 2 hours of our lives basically apologizing to each other and apologizing to NASCAR, that alone truly needs to show them they need to change the way they do things. I need to find out who is up at the garage to give me a lesson.
"All of us should be crossing each other's paths without intentionally running into each other. You can't run someone down intentionally to get someone out of the way."
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