Tuesday night, JGR announced that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin will miss at least six weeks due to an injury suffered in a last lap wreck in Sunday’s race at Fontana.
Hamlin was crashed by budding rival Joey Logano between Turns 3 and 4. After scraping the outside SAFER barrier, the No. 11 took a turn for the worse and headed towards the inside wall off of Turn 4. The wall didn’t have a SAFER barrier and Hamlin’s FedEx Toyota slammed head first into the concrete wall.
Hamlin was hospitalized and diagnosed Monday morning with a L1 compression fracture of his lower back. He flew home Monday night and saw Dr. Jerry Petty in North Carolina Tuesday afternoon. The terrible news that he would be out at least six weeks followed Tuesday night.
The good news is he won’t require surgery but the bad news is his season is basically over.
Hamlin currently sits 10th in points as we sit, too far back to contend for a Chase spot. Missing six races will drop him deep in the standings. Even if he was to win multiple races before the regular season ends on September 7th at his hometown track in Richmond, he likely will be too far out to make the Chase.
A reminder on Chase rules: any driver in the top 10 of the standings automatically qualifies for the 12-driver playoff. The remaining two spots go to the drivers with the most wins that are in the top 20 in points. If only one or even no one in points position 11th-20th have won the two spots will go to the top driver in the standings without a win.
That means Hamlin really has no shot. It’s too much to ask to make the top 20 while missing six or more of the first 26 races of the year.
With that being said, what other fallout could come from this?
You would certainly have to think FedEx and Joe Gibbs Racing can’t be too happy about this. Sponsors back drivers and teams wanting success and familiarity. FedEx hopped on the No. 11 Toyota wanting to represent Hamlin. They forked over millions of sponsorship dollars in hopes of him winning a championship and keeping their car up front.
Now, they’re not going to be happy if someone comes in and doesn’t run that car up front. They’ve paid for this car to be a contender and trusted Hamlin with that. Now due to an intense rivalry, Hamlin is out for at least six races and out of title contention.
NASCAR announced today neither Logano or Tony Stewart would be disciplined for their actions from this past weekend so don’t expect anything to really happen as far as discipline for this. But, do expect NASCAR, JGR, Penske Racing, Hamlin and Logano to have a discussion about this.
NASCAR encourages rivalries but doesn’t condone reckless acts that injure other competitors or fans.
The consequences of “Boys Have at It” have taken a turn for the worse as someone is injured now. Sponsorship money is hard to come by and one of the most loyal sponsors is now without their primary driver.
No replacement has been announced yet but look for it to be someone within the JGR camp, possibly Elliott Sadler.
The post NASCAR: What Denny Hamlin being out at least 6 weeks means appeared first on Race Review Online.