Petty suggested before the race that Hamlin had lost his focus and needed to start preparing for next season.

“I think Denny’s a good racecar driver — really solid race car driver — and he’s been banged up numerous times this year. … Dover — that hit he took up there," Petty said. "Honest to gosh, though, he didn’t have a shot at making the Chase, though. I’m sorry. He just didn’t. He was so far out. You can’t compete with teams like Jimmie Johnson and those guys and sit out five or six weeks.

"I think since that time now, he’s started to talk a lot. He’s talked about being the face of Joe Gibbs Racing. I think he’s got a little bit of the ‘BK (Brad Keselowski) syndrome’ in him right now. He’s not relevant to the sport right now as far as the Chase and what’s going on in the Chase and winning the championship. He can win the next four or five races, but it’s not going to change the championship this year, and it’s not going to change the Chase. It is what it is and he needs to focus on next year, get his body back together and come back and have a shot at winning next year.”

Hamlin was not happy with Petty's comments and lashed out at him again after climbing from his car at Pocono.

"My frustration is Kyle has never shown his face in the garage in 10 years," Hamlin said. "He’s an analyst but he’s not a very informative one because he doesn’t know anything. My beef with Kyle is that he has a lot of opinions about a lot of drivers but he has never once talked to any of them. To be an analyst, you’ve got to be in the trenches finding out the stories.

"It was just (his) saying I as the face of JGR. And what I really said was that I was the face of FedEx racing and the No. 11 team. I think I’ve earned that right. I’ve won enough races and I got here on hard work and winning. I didn’t get here like he got here."

Hamlin missed four races after suffering a compression fracture in his lower back in the crash at California on March 24. Hamlin has struggled since returning from the crash, falling to 25th in the standings.

Hamlin crashed on Lap 14 at Pocono, hitting the wall and falling out of the race.

Petty created a stir a few weeks ago by saying on Speed that Danica Patrick was not a “real racecar driver.”

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