Denny Hamlin has been diagnosed with a fractured back…more specifically an L1 compression fracture. After racing hard for the win with Joey Logano who he was already having issues with, the two wrecked handing the win to Kyle Busch. Hamlin went spinning towards the infield and hit a concrete wall head on sending his car airborne before slamming back down on the ground. The wall was not a safer barrier which is most likely why Denny suffered this injury.
Will Power had a similar injury back in 2011 during the tragic crash that killed Dan Wheldon. It took him just under a month to recover from it. There is no word yet if Denny will need surgery or if he will actually miss races but I’m assuming he will miss one or two. Joey Logano who was unaware that Hamlin was injured said “he got what he deserved” soon after the wreck. This feud has turned into a rivalry…a very ugly one at that. There is no turning back now and saying I’m sorry; the damage is done. Hamlin recently tweeted one short sentence saying “I just want to go home.” He then tweeted a picture of himself in the hospital.
If Hamlin does have to sit out a race two, I believe either Elliott Sadler or Michael McDowell would take the wheel of the #11 car. McDowell filled in for a suspended Kyle Busch back in 2011 at Texas and Elliott Sadler is full time Nationwide driver for JGR who has won races at the Cup level. The big question is did these two go too far and should Logano be punished? My answer to that is no and no. They were racing hard for the win and it resulted in a crash, that happens in racing. It’s not like Joey hooked Denny on purpose sending him into the wall. They simply lost control and crashed one another battling for the victory and I doubt any penalties will come from NASCAR. That being said, I highly doubt Logano will make it through all 500 laps at Martinsville with Tony Stewart gunning for him and now the whole JGR team ticked at the Penske driver.
Hopefully, this crash will make NASCAR mandate that all tracks put safer barriers all around their racetracks. We have learned time and time again that if there is a concrete wall at a track, a car is bound to find it one day. Lastly, I just want to say to keep Denny in your prays and hope for a speedy recovery. It’s a shame that the exciting finish to that race will be overshadowed by this unfortunate injury.
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