Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hamlin returns to site of 2013 nightmare at Auto Club Speedway

Hamlin won the pole last week at Bristol
One year ago, things looked fairly bright for Denny Hamlin. He had made the Chase every season he had raced. He was running well and Joe Gibbs Racing seemed on top of its game with the addition of Matt Kenesth.

And then came the wreck at Auto Club Speedway as he battled Joey Logano for the lead on the final lap. His car turned toward the wall and he kept his foot in the gas, hoping to get it turned toward the finish line.

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Instead he hit the wall in one of the worst areas — an inside wall with no SAFER Barrier, where the pavement had a slight incline approaching the concrete.

Hospitalized for a day, Hamlin suffered a compression fracture in his lower back. He missed four races and started a fifth before getting out of his car early.

When he returned to racing full time in May, something seemed missing. Hamlin really wasn’t himself. He didn’t run consistently well. There were times when he and crew chief Darian Grubb seemed totally out to lunch. This wasn’t the confident Hamlin, the one with a swagger, the one that seemed to race with a “come get you some” attitude.

He contemplated ending the season and having back surgery to repair bulging disks that he has battled the last five years. But the 33-year-old Hamlin instead opted for injections in his back that numbed the pain enough for him to do more therapy and more activity, working out enough to help get his back better and stronger.

Read More Here......Sporting News

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