Denny Hamlin, driver of the No.11 FedEx Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing wrecked his car in Turn 1 at Kansas Speedway during today’s testing. This is the same turn that Dale Earnhardt Jr. wrecked in during the August tire test that led to the first of two concussions for Earnhardt Jr.
Hamlin’s car hit the right rear going 202 mph entering the corner, sending the car down the track. He corrected the car a little to much and hit the wall with the right side. It destroyed the car Hamlin was planning to race with on Sunday.
A NASCAR official, after seeing the damage to the car suggested that Hamlin go to the infield care center. Hamlin said doesn’t recall the last time he was suggested to go to the center after he had driven back to the garage. Hamlin’s last lap before he crashed was 181.409 mph — his fastest lap of the session.
Hamlin was asked to return to the center an hour later for re-evaluation, when after a 10 minute evaluation he was cleared to get back into the car.
Hamlin will be now be in a back up car this weekend for the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. The track holds a lot of uncertainties after its repave earlier this year which added progressive banking in the turns to be between 17 and 20 degrees. The cars tested tires in August and were able to test both yesterday and today to prepare for Sunday’s race.
Hamlin doesn’t believe the officials suggestion has anything to do with what happened at Talladega two weeks ago, when Earnhardt Jr. was involved in a 25 car pile up on the final lap that led to his second concussion in two months and him being removed from his car for the last two races while he recovers, that he just thinks its smart for drivers to get checked out after a wreck.
We can’t agree that it doesn’t have anything to do with what happened at Talladega, simply because they do not usually suggest going to the infield care center if a car can be driven back to the garage. The fact that NASCAR lost its most popular driver to a concussion puts huge questions about the drivers well being if they are involved in a serious crash.
Saying that the Talladega wreck has nothing to do with the suggestion is silly. It is true that drivers should probably go to the infield care center regardless of what type of wreck they were involved in.
Hamlin is currently third in the points behind Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski for the Sprint Cup Series Championship.