Austin Dillon Faces Criticism: Denny Hamlin Stands Up for the 33-Year-Old Driver

"Doesn’t deserve a lot of the flack that he gets. Man, he’s had a bad run at it.”- Hamlin said

by Sead Dedovic
Austin Dillon Faces Criticism: Denny Hamlin Stands Up for the 33-Year-Old Driver
© Chris Graythen/Getty Images Sport

Austin Dillon has absolutely been out of luck for quite some time. This outstanding NASCAR driver is facing issues from race to race, and it seems like no wreck can be avoided. The Richard Childress Racing star is struggling to achieve his goals this season, and it's truly challenging to be optimistic when they repeatedly encounter the same obstacles. 

The last race in Phoenix brought exactly what Dillon expected. Dillon was involved in a wreck, with Derek Kraus being the main protagonist. Kaulig Racing driver spun on his own on the backstretch.

Experienced NASCAR driver and team owner, Denny Hamlin, reacted to Austin Dillon's performances during the Actions Detrimental podcast, aware that this 33-year-old driver truly lacks luck. Hamlin has a great opinion of Austin, emphasizing that Austin often receives criticism without a specific foundation. 

Denny pointed out that Austin doesn't deserve to encounter bad luck week after week, but it seems he has to accept it. In moments when things don't go your way, optimism is the only thing that can keep you in the game. Austin is frustrated with everything that has happened, but Hamlin hopes that luck might favor this driver in the future.

“ARCA brakes. He had ARCA brakes. Austin Dillon has had some ---- luck. I love Austin. He’s a good person. Austin gets a lot of —, because he’s racing for his grandfather. People think he’s silver spoon. Austin Dillon is a great person. He’s a fantastic human. Doesn’t deserve a lot of the flack that he gets. Man, he’s had a bad run at it.”- Hamlin said, as quoted by

Hamlin reflected on the past year and the fact that Austin didn't finish many races. This NASCAR veteran attributes it to the fact that Austin often operates in the middle and back of the pack, where the chances of being involved in wrecks are high.

Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin© James Gilbert / Getty Images Sport

What impresses Hamlin is the determination Austin shows week after week, despite the challenges he faces. Austin is a driver motivated and passionate like few others. His desire for victory is evidently stronger than all the misfortunes he encounters. Denny expects that in the coming weeks, we might witness the best of Austin. The 33-year-old RCR driver needs to make some changes.

“The last year, just an enormous amount of DNFs. I think a lot of that is just because of where you’re running. I think when you get back towards the back of the pack, middle of the pack, you’re going to get in more wrecks. So you know, he’s on a bad run, for sure. You know he wants to turn around. That kid’s got drive. He’s as competitive as I am, maybe more. He’s certainly more athletic than I am. I play a lot of sports with Austin Dillon, and he’s competitive. So it’s not like he’s happy running where he’s running. But we saw as a whole, RCR just struggled mightily, mightily this weekend.”

Dillon has not yet spoken out about the wreck and what happened. In the next few days, we might expect his statement regarding the situation he found himself in. Austin cannot be happy with the start of this season, which is far from satisfactory. Although he expected things to change and his career to take an upward trajectory this season, these past few races have shown that Dillon will once again face a challenging task.

Austin Dillon on the challenges in the 2023 season

Before the start of the season, Dillon spoke about the challenges he faced in the 2023 season. Although he expected to perform significantly better in 2023, he failed to deliver his best. We cannot say that Austin is the main culprit. When you are constantly confronted with things beyond your control, it's hard to elevate your performance. The Martinsville race was the beginning of what Austin feared. After that, things took a downturn.

"Last year was a struggle. After Martinsville (...) we had a lot of wrecks and different things happen, more DNF's I think than I've ever had in my career. The biggest thing for us is just to try to bump up there a couple more spots, because litteraly the way it works is if you're in the top ten and you have a good pit stop in those races, you can win."

In January of this year, Austin emphasized his goal to quickly forget the disappointing 2023 season and focus on what lies ahead. He stated that he needed to find a rhythm and start aggressively to achieve his objectives. However, what he has shown so far is just a replay of what we've already seen. Finishing 29th in the Cup standings is certainly not what he expected. 

Those familiar with Dillon and his capabilities have no doubt that Austin can get on the winning track. Nevertheless, several factors will influence that. We hope that this 33-year-old driver will have better luck in the upcoming races than he has had so far.

Austin Dillon Denny Hamlin