Denny Hamlin suffered a compression fracture in the L1 vertebrae as result of his last lap wreck with former teammate Joey Logano.
Hamlin spent Sunday night in a Fontana hospital and is expected to fly home to Charlotte soon. Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates will evaluate Hamlin later in the week.
“That’s what he gets” chimed Logano in a post race interview. The driver of the No. 22 Ford backed off his comments on Monday in an interview with USA Today he said he did not know that Hamlin was hurt when he made those comments.
Joe Gibbs Racing officials said it was too early to determine if Hamlin would miss any races. The Sprint Cup Series is off this weekend (Easter) but returns at Martinsville Speedway on April 7. Hamlin is a four time winner at Martinsville –the shortest track on the circuit which has been the sight of some of the closest door to door racing in recent years.
Dr. Joseph Estwanik of Metrolina Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Clinic in Charlotte said without knowing the severity of the fracture it is impossible to give a fair evaluation of whether Hamlin will miss any races.
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“There are things that can be done … getting braces, padding and the arrangement for the seat to assist [in reducing pain and discomfort],” said Dr. Joseph Estwanik of Metrolina Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Clinic in Charlotte.
Hamlin did take some time to tweet his fans on Monday saying that “I just want to go home.” Later he tweeted a photo of himself.
All good twitter.com/dennyhamlin/st…
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) March 25, 2013
Auto Club Speedway track president Gillian Zucker had no explanation for why SAFER barriers were not in the place where Hamlin’s car hit the wall. She said that while the track pays for barriers, NASCAR makes the recommendation for where to put them.