Denny Hamlin really is smarter than the average (choose your animal metaphor here), which is why he went ahead and paid the $25,000 fine NASCAR laid on him for, well, telling the truth.
You can't fight City Hall, and, let's face it, NASCAR is City Hall on steroids. And while we're tossing out homey little aphorisms, here's another: You have to know when to pick your battles.
Hamlin does, which is why he decided not to appeal the fine. His point, he says, was made, and it was time to move on.
Abso-posi-lutely. The point, after all, was that NASCAR overreacted in fining Hamlin for comments about the new Gen-6 that, frankly, weren't all that critical. All he said was it was like the Gen-5 car was at the beginning, and that teams, as with the Gen-5 car, were going to have to sort out the aero package. And until they did, the racing was going to more resemble the Tournament of Roses parade than Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip bangin' quarter panels at Martinsville or Richmond.
All of that was true, and frankly nothing NASCAR should have gotten its knickers in a twist about. But it did. And the media and fans gave NASCAR an earful about it.
So Hamlin, having won the public relations war, had nothing to gain by continuing to fight the fine. So he paid it, and then released a statement that was missing only a paternalistic pat on the head.
"It's better to move on and let NASCAR get its credibility back, and they're going to do that," Hamlin said. "And I'm going to move on and focus on the championship."
In other words: It's OK, guys. You'll come up with the right response next time.
Denny wins again.