Denny Hamlin Suffers L1 Compression Fracture

By Kent Whitaker
Denny Hamlin
Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Gibbs Racing has announced that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series  driver Denny Hamlin suffered a L1 Compression Fracture following an accident on the final lap of Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

The end of the NSCS race saw both Hamlin and Joey Loganao racing for the lead when they tangled down the backstretch and into turns three and four. Coming out of turn four, both Hamlin and Logano saw their fight for the win turn into a wreck. This allowed the third place car of Kyle Busch the opportunity to slide by for the win.

Hamlin’s car dove down the track and impacted a section of protective wall that was not fitted with the new safer-barriers. Hamlin struggled from his destroyed car and collapsed into the arms of a track emergency worker. He was transported to the in-field care center on a stretcher and then airlifted to a nearby hospital.

In a statement after the race, JGR said that “Hamlin complained of lower back pain at the track’s infield medical center and was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation. Hamlin will remain at the hospital overnight for observation.”

Today’s statement states that Hamlin hopes to be released from the hospital today. He will then fly to his home in North Carolina where he will be evaluated by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates later this week.

The accident was the second in two consecutive races between the former Gibbs teammates. Last week during the NSCS race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Hamlin spun Logano as they battled for the second place spot. The Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series will take a week off for the Easter weekend holiday.

Whitaker is a member of NASCAR media, covers NASCAR and the NFL, author and culinary writer. Follow him @thekentwhitaker on twitter.

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