An angry and defiant Denny Hamlin said Thursday that he will not pay a $25,000 fine but will instead appeal his penalty for criticizing NASCAR’s new Sprint Cup car after last week’s race at Phoenix International Raceway.

NASCAR announced the fine Thursday, saying it was penalizing Hamlin for comments that NASCAR officials said “denigrated the sport.” Hamlin had an angry reaction during a break in testing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I don’t believe in this,” Hamlin said. “I’m never going to believe in it. So as far as I’m concerned, I’m not going to pay the fine.

“If they suspend me, they suspend me. I don’t care at this point.”

he Joe Gibbs Racing driver will have to pay the fine, or NASCAR may force him to. The NASCAR rule on payment of fines says:

“Failure to pay promptly may result in suspension. All unpaid fines of a Member may be collected by NASCAR by deducting the amount from the purse.”

While there is no definition of “promptly,” typically NASCAR does not allow drivers to race if they haven’t paid a fine prior to going out on the track. But typically fines are issued on Tuesdays and not Thursdays. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, said Thursday that Hamlin has the option to appeal and that he is not currently in the window of having to pay the fine or face additional disciplinary measures.

Hamlin tweeted Thursday night that he would go through the process of appealing the fine, that “I am a person that worked very hard from the bottom to get to where I am today and somebody telling me that I (cannot) give my 100 percent honest opinion really bothers me.”

The short of the long of it is I believe I was severely disrespected by NASCAR by getting fined. I believe that... twitpl.us/t/ASR

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