When Denny Hamlin clobbered the Turn 4 wall at Kentucky Speedway on Sunday, the first thought of most who watched had to be, "Oh, no, not the back."
Fortunately, there was no basis for concern for the driver who had missed four races earlier this season because of a compression fracture of his first lumbar vertebra. The impact on Lap 147 of the Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was severe, and Hamlin was shaken up, but his back was fine.
Team owner Joe Gibbs visited Hamlin in the infield care center after the wreck. Hamlin was released shortly thereafter.
"I think our cars are so safe, and to show you, in 22 years, we've only had one person miss a race, and that was Denny, when he had the problem earlier this year," Gibbs told the NASCAR Wire Service. "So to be quite truthful, I didn't see it, so I was just going back, and I didn't realize he hit that hard.
"And so when I got back there (to the garage), he said, 'Man, I'...