Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin suffered a L1 Compression Fracture following an accident on the final lap of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
Hamlin hopes to be released today to fly to his home in North Carolina where he will be evaluated by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates later this week.
Hamlin was held overnight in in a Southern California hospital Sunday after his last lap accident in the Auto Club 400.
Hamlin’s last-lap contact with Joey Logano on Sunday afternoon sent his No. 11 Toyota sliding hard into the inside retaining wall and Hamlin was transported by helicopter to a local hospital for evaluation. After climbing from his car at the end of the race, Hamlin slumped to the ground, was attended to by trackside medical personnel and then airlifted from the speedway due to traffic congestion in the area.
Although no recovery time has been given at this point, other prominent drivers have had to deal with an injury similar to the one Hamlin suffered including IZOD Indy Car Series pilot Will Power, who was cleared to test four weeks after his accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in October, 2011.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has the Easter weekend off before returning to action at Martinsville Speedway on April 7, allowing Hamlin at least some extra time before having to decide whether he was capable of driving.