After Sunday’s last-lap wreck following a scuffle with Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin was diagnosed with a compression fracture of the L1 vertebra, leading to speculation of how the injury would impact his agenda and race to qualify for The Chase later this year.
It was announced Tuesday night that, after consulting with Dr. Lee Petty (the same doctor who was involved in the decision of Dale Earnhardt Jr. sitting out for two weeks last season), Hamlin is schedules to miss six races to properly heal his injury.
As Denny wrote in various tweets on Tuesday night: “I wish I got good news today…I didn’t. If me getting back in the car was based on pain tolerance, then I would be in the car next week. There’s just more to it than I can’t control.”
Hamlin, who has suffered back problems before, reacted to his wreck as soon as the car impacted the wall, shouting, “My back, my back, my back!” It was a hit on a wall that didn’t have a SAFER barrier.
Rumors of who was to pilot the no. 11 during the absence instantly flew -ranging from Elliott Sadler to Bubba Wallace Jr.- and left JGR with no choice but to make a decision.
Mark Martin was reportedly running all the races for Hamlin, yet that was a fit of confusing between MWR and JGR. After the Martinsville race, run by Martin, the rest of the open races will be raced by Brian Vickers. Martin, who has two wins, twelve top-fives, 25 top-tens, and two poles at next week’s stop at Martinsville Speedway, was not everyone’s first guess to fill the seat, but he is certainly a fan favorite.
Elliott Sadler was already set to run a fourth JGR Cup car at Kansas and Talladega, explaining why he couldn’t commit to the substitution.
If you were wondering, Hamlin and Logano have conversed since Sunday, via text message. The transaction was “short” and accomplished nothing, according to Hamlin. It hangs in the air if the feud between the two is over.
Despite what seems like a trite confrontation, Logano is kind towards his past teammate.
“Wish @dennyhamlin a speedy recovery,” he tweeted early Thursday morning, the first tweet addressing the situation. “Hope he gets back to the track real soon.”