Denny Hamlin hasn’t exactly had it easy the last couple of weeks, much less years. While some racers have experienced the worst luck on track, Hamlin’s bad luck has been surrounding his health.
In January 2010, in a pickup basketball game with a few buddies, and tore a ligament in his left knee, but of course, he won a few races and almost the championship.
In 2013, in the Fontana race, it was the last lap as Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin were fighting hard for the lead. When Logano got a little loose on the bottom as Hamlin was trying to pass on the top, pandemonium broke out, and it ended with Hamlin being loaded into a stretcher with a massive L1 Compression fracture, or a collapsed vertebra. In other words, Hamlin had a broken back.
He didn’t get back into the car until the Talladega race, and was immediately replaced by relief driver Brian Vickers under the first caution. The next week at Darlington, he was back in his car full time. The rest of the season didn’t go as smoothly as planned, and he was certainly out of the running for the championship. However, it didn’t stop him from winning the final race of the season as Homestead.
Last weekend at Fontana came another blow to Hamlin’s team. He wouldn’t be racing. After complaining of severe headaches and vision issues, and two trips to the infield care center, it was deemed not to long before the race that Sam Hornish Jr. would be replacing Denny Hamlin at Fontana.
Originally, the problems were thought to have been because of a sinus infection. But in fact, it was because of a piece of metal in his left eye removed at the hospital last Sunday. But that didn’t mean he was done with the doctor visits s metal rusts when wetted, and that’s exactly what the metal in Hamlin’s eye did. Hamlin commented that on Monday, they removed the remaining debris in his eye.
“Basically around the metal it built a rust ring so there was like a ring of rust around it. They needed time for that to harden for them to pick that out,” Hamlin said. “Once he got that out I felt better yet.”
After missing Fontana, Denny Hamlin will be back in his No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry this weekend at Martinsville, but under extreme scrutiny. Since last weekend at Fontana a lot of rumors have surfaced on social media about the truth to Hamlin’s eye injury and why an explanation wasn’t delivered n Sunday, but rather mid-week.
When asked if his reputation was impacted by the incident, Hamlin was attempting not to get to frustrated, saying, “I’m going to try not to get mad. Like I just said, my health is my business.”
He continued on by saying that he hardly partied or drank, and made it clear that he had never done drugs, nor would he ever just to throw his career away. Some had suggested that Hamlin spoke of this ‘sinus infection’ originally on Sunday at Fontana to dodge a NASCAR drug test.
“I don’t know why people question who I am outside the race track,” Hamlin said. “I worked too hard to get here for one to throw it all away. If anyone has any questions about that, they can ask me directly.”
When asked how he was feeling, Hamlin was quick to respond. “I feel good — definitely ready to get going here.”
When asked if he had room for another Martinsville grandfather clock, he wasted no hesitation. “I’m going to win it this weekend, I promise.