NASCAR Driver Denny Hamlin Gets DNF’d When Kid Turns Sim Rig Off Mid-Race

Working from home is great. Until it’s not.

byJames Gilboy|
NASCAR photo

Sim racing's sudden ascension from a niche hobby to a televised esport has given people as many new ways to make a racing career as it has disrupt an existing one. This past Sunday, three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin had the misfortune of discovering one of the latter when he scratched out of NASCAR's simulated Talladega contest for an unusual reason: A mid-race encounter with his daughter.

The winner of the NASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series' Miami-Homestead round struggled throughout the Talladega race weekend, missing qualifying due to connection issues, as Autoweek reports. In the race, Hamlin found himself a lap down due to an early collision and subsequent damage, but he fought his way back up the pack, and by the race's halfway point, was running in the top five. Things went south for Hamlin again when he encountered more technical difficulties, reportedly vanishing from the broadcast before reappearing with car damage, and later retiring from the race outright when he was unable to reconnect.

Though Fox Sports audiences couldn't know why Hamlin had disappeared from their screens, the driver's Twitch followers were privy to the whole breakdown. As shown in a video later posted to Hamlin's Twitter, his seven-year-old daughter Taylor popped into the room holding a remote, seemingly asking if she could take one of the family go-karts for a spin. Hamlin, being in the middle of earning a paycheck, tries to wave his daughter away, though seconds later, his screen shuts off, presumably setting off the sequence of events that led to his eventual DNF.

Based on the video above, Hamlin believes his daughter turned off his monitors to get his attention; the screen goes black almost immediately after his daughter makes a gesture with the remote. No matter the cause of the sim rig shutdown, Hamlin surely learned a valuable lesson or two about parenting and boundaries.

"I'm pissed off," commented Hamlin, "but they're just kids."

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