A violent wreck on the final lap of yesterday’s Auto Club 400 at the Auto Club Speedway sent Denny Hamlin to the hospital for observations and today, it was announced that Hamlin has a slight back injury. Hamlin has had previous back injuries which make him more vulnerable to another one which occurred during the wreck yesterday. The official injury is a compression fracture in Hamlin’s lower back. Back injuries are never good for a NASCAR driver since an injury to the drivers back could hurt him inside the race car. This injury has left Hamlin’s status for Martinsville in two weeks as TBA.
Hamlin sent out a few tweets today from the hospital both, in which he doesn’t refer to the race but, to his injury which should be everyone’s main concern. Below are the two of the tweets from Hamlin.
“I just want to go home.”
According to a Joe Gibbs Racing statement, Hamlin hopes to be released from the hospital today and fly back to Charlotte for further evaluation from a NASCAR doctor. If Hamlin can be cleared by the doctor, he may be able to race in two weeks at Martinsville but, if Hamlin were to have surgery, he could be out for awhile. Missing a race affects the drivers’ chance at the championship basically because it means forfeiting any potential points you could have earned in that race towards the championship.A racers mentality is to always race but, Hamlin will be smart enough to know whether or not he should be in that race car in two weeks. Luckily for Hamlin, this coming weekend is an off-week for NASCAR since Easter is on Sunday and he’ll have another week to recover.
Martinsville is one of the toughest tracks on the circuit and it will put a lot of grind on the drivers’ body so it will depend on how Hamlin is feeling in two weeks to determine whether or not he will compete in the race. If Hamlin is unable to compete, Elliot Sadler will likely take his place since Sadler is a Nationwide Series driver for JGR.
Hamlin thanked everyone for their support after his accident yesterday and prayers for Hamlin should still be sent. The one driver who would never miss a race would be Hamlin since he raced just 10 days after getting knee surgery in 2010. The racer in Hamlin will tell him to go race in two weeks but, NASCAR and JGR will get the final say on whether or not to allow Hamlin to race.
By Jason Schultz