In four of the last five races, Denny Hamlin has wrecked in every one except Pocono. In four of those races, he finished 23rd or worse with his latest finish being 36th at Daytona. Combine that with the injury he suffered in California on March 24th, that caused him to miss all of April, it begs the question of how much can Hamlin take?
Hamlin is currently 26th in the Sprint Cup standings, and 161 points back of the 10th spot in points. His season is all but over, but one has to wonder if Hamlin is doing the right thing by risking further injury to his back.
I’m sure the competitor in Hamlin wants to be in every race that he is capable of being in. But at this point, a championship run seems very bleak and if you are not racing for a championship this season, is it better to play it safe and shut it down until the 2014 season?
“Who knows what’s going to happen; we could get hot,” team owner Joe Gibbs noted after the race at Kentucky in June via espn.com. “I know he’ll be the favorite at several of these racetracks we have down the stretch over these next nine weeks. Who knows, maybe a miracle in there.”
Since then Hamlin crashed again. So if the team had high hopes for a good run after Kentucky, you have to wonder how much they think they have left after Daytona. Hamlin didn’t speak to the media after the Daytona race on Saturday.
Hamlin should give strong considerations of hanging it up for the season and focus on next year, and future years after. The pressure he would have to put on himself to get back into chase contention isn’t worth it at this point. Hamlin shouldn’t risk further injury that could impact the way he races in the future.
It’s tough for a competitor I’m sure, but everyone has their limits. No matter how good you are.