MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Mark Martin has a reputation for being
one of the cleanest drivers in NASCAR, the kind of guy who never
resorts to cheapshots to get something he couldn't otherwise earn
and who is a mentor for up-and-coming talent.
Good luck getting rookie Denny Hamlin to see it that way.
"I respect Mark Martin like no other," Hamlin said Sunday
after contact with Martin took him out of the DirecTV 500 early and
sent him to a 37th place finish.
Hamlin said he was running on the lead lap with Martin one lap
down when Martin's Ford bounced off the wall and into Hamlin's
Chevrolet, which spun out and crashed.
"This ain't the first time," the Chesterfield native fumed.
"At Las Vegas, he ran me into the wall. There's so many races I
can say the 6 car didn't give me any room.
"I understand I'm the rookie and he's the veteran, but we're
all on the same race track. You've got to give room. He crowded me
every time I was around him."
Hamlin, who started 41st, was running 14th when his day ended.
"It's not the way it's supposed to end," he said.