If it was up to him, Denny Hamlin's fractured vertebra in his lower back would not cause him to miss any races.
''I can get in my car right now and go; I feel like I can get in my car right now and win Martinsville,'' Hamlin said Wednesday.
But he can't race this weekend at Martinsville. He'll be watching from pit road as Mark Martin drives his car, and that might be the most painful part of the injury that has sidelined Hamlin for the first time in his career.
''I think I'm over the physical part of this, now I just have to get over the mental part of it,'' he said. ''I'm going to feel fine the next four to five weeks. You have to look at the bigger picture. It's tough for me to swallow that now. I have to make sure I'm able to sustain another hit.''
Hamlin was injured in a crash on the last lap of the March 24 race at California while racing with Joey Logano for the win. Doctors have told him he should expect to miss at least five races, but Hamlin is personally targeting the ...