Denny Hamlin took to Twitter on Sunday night and apologized for purposely running into the back of race leader Chase Elliott and spinning him out near the end of the First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Instead of Elliott celebrating his first Monster Energy Series victory, he left the Virginia half-mile with a twenty-seventh-place finish. Hamlin’s apology read as follows:
"I've raced nearly ten thousand races since I was (seven). (Sunday) was the first time I've ever spun out the leader. I regret the outcome because it was not intentional the way it turned out, but I'm responsible for my own car and take blame. Nothing I say can turn back the clock, but it's a life lesson and I hope no kids out there (who) aspire to race think that's the way you should do it. It's becoming normal in our sport and I hate that I'm now in the discussion as a guilty party, but I'll move on and hope Chase, his team and fans accept my apology."
Hamlin finished seventh in Sunday’s race and is one position in front of Elliott in the playoff standings heading into next weekend’s stop in Texas.