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UPDATE: Denny Hamlin released from hospital

Mar 25, 2013, 11:53 PM EDT

Auto Club 400 - Qualifying Getty Images

UPDATE (11:41 p.m. ET) Denny Hamlin has taken to his Twitter page this evening to post a picture of himself giving a thumbs-up while wearing what appears to be a back brace. He later tweeted: “Everyone’s messages to me is the most motivating thing I could see. #humbled”

According to Jenna Fryer of the Associated Press, Hamlin was released from a Southern California hospital this evening. He later told’s Lee Spencer that he was feeling “definitely better than I was [Sunday] for sure.”

“Really, my first reaction is I felt something pop in my back and that’s why I was really trying to get out of the car as soon as I could because the position I was in … I couldn’t breathe at all,” Hamlin said to Spencer.

“Still having a hard time breathing. When I felt it pop, I couldn’t move at all and I knew I had to get flat to my back to be able to breathe again – so that’s why I rushed out and then just lay flat on the ground to try to start breathing at that point.”

It is not yet known if Hamlin will miss any races as a result of the compression fracture in his L1 vertebrae that he sustained on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway after hitting an inside retaining wall following a last-lap collision with Joey Logano. NASCAR won’t return to action until April 7 at Martinsville Speedway.

UPDATE (3:05 p.m. ET) In a statement this afternoon, Joe Gibbs Racing updated the condition of Denny Hamlin, revealing that he had sustained a compression fracture of the L1 vertebrae following his crash on the final lap of yesterday’s Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway.

Hamlin and Joey Logano were battling for the win when they came together in Turn 4, allowing Kyle Busch to pass them for the victory. While Logano tagged the Turn 4 wall, Hamlin spun down across the track and slammed into an inside retaining wall that was not covered by a SAFER Barrier.

Hamlin was taken to the infield care center in an ambulance and was later airlifted to an undisclosed hospital. In this most recent statement, JGR said that he hopes to be released today and fly home to North Carolina, where he’ll be evaluated by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates later in the week.

In an earlier statement from Sunday night, the team indicated that Hamlin had been complaining of lower back pain while he was in ACS’ care center.

  1. danwilliamsmlb - Mar 25, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    I’m glad Denny is okay; that was a scary hit and whether you like a driver or not, you never want to see one get hurt.

    • icemanpjn - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      Saying folks don’t want a driver to get hurt isn’t exactly true. Every time there is a wreck there is a chance for drivers to get hurt, as well as spectators and crew. Fans want wrecks, which means they want chances for drivers to get hurt.

      • danwilliamsmlb - Mar 25, 2013 at 6:28 PM

        “Fans want wrecks, which means they want chances for drivers to get hurt.”

        I disagree. I do agree that there is a faction of the fan base which wants to see wrecks, but they want to see them for the spectacle, not for injuries. These cars – along with the equipment drivers are required to use – have improved safety immensely and when a wreck occurs, we expect that a driver will just hop right out of the car; maybe a little sore, but otherwise uninjured.

        Anyone who wants or celebrates injury to a driver (on the track, that is; a butt whipping in the garage is a different story) is not a true fan of the sport.

      • tonyc920 - Mar 25, 2013 at 6:37 PM

        Maybe “YOU” like wrecks iceman, but the true Stock Car fans don’t want wrecks. Yes we want to see paint swapping and crumpled sheet from the drivers mixing it up fighting for position. Sure cars will spin out and get messed up but to see how hard Hamlins hit was was scary. I prayed to see that window net drop. Had it not been for the HANS device and the rollcage structure we might have witnessed another fatality. That was as wicked a lick as Earnhardt’s, maybe worse.

  2. eglsfan - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    pinhead Logano to go down at Martinsville……or everybody play it cool & boot that punk at Talladega

    • icemanpjn - Mar 25, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      I don’t see where Logano is all that at fault. He was involved in contact with Hamlin but at the same time Hamlin was contacting Logano. Technically, it looked to me like Logano cut across Hamlin too early, before he was clear of him, but fans love contact. “Rubbin’ is racin’.”

  3. mande4ever - Mar 25, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    I understand racing is racing…. However when they interviewed Logano about the incident he stated “That’s what you get” I have zero respect for his lack of compassion that he showed for a driver that was hurt especially a former teammate. All I can say is Logano better watch his back he is upsetting the wrong people

    • tonyc920 - Mar 25, 2013 at 6:53 PM

      At the time of the interview he had knowledge his window net was down which indicates he’s ok.
      He didnt know of the injury. You’re probably wrong about your last comment. Logano did nothing wrong. If you think he’s upsetting the wrong people, whom are you referring to ? Stewart ? He’s nothing more than a blow hard who thinks everyone is supposed to get out of his way. Tony’s going to push his luck a little too far one of these times.

  4. tonyc920 - Mar 25, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    All the trash talk on Logano is BS. First of all, he raced Hamlin CLEAN and so did Hamlin in kind. Joey tried the inside and it slipped up, a small bobble. That was not intentional. You want intentional ? Look at what Hamlin did to Logano in Bristol. Tony Stewart had NO BEEF. If he was pissed, it was because Logano did exactly what Stewart would have done. Tony thinks he’s Dale Earnhardt and he can do no wrong. The wreck was unfortunate and the injury was worse yet but that’s racing folks especially in the last few laps when you’re paid to win. And I’m not a Logano fan.
    I’m a Kenseth and Rowdy fan.

  5. f1phantom - Mar 25, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Webber has been with Red Bull for many years and and produced nothing but the occasional race win. Vettels’ record does not need to be restated here. It is worthy of note that during the last race of last season when Webber was asked if he would help Vettel secure the championship, Webber pretty much said Vettel was on his own. Webber is not a has been; he never was a champion (and is not a team player), Vettel is a champion and has a bright future. I can think of many drivers that would do as well, if not better than Webber in RBR car. I understand that a 1, 2 finish for the team is the same regardless of which driver leads; however, in my opinion, Webber winning this race would have been a waste of points, and may very well have benefitted a non Red Bull driver in the Driver Chapionship.

  6. jets12 - Mar 25, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    Lagano and Hamlin were racing hard and unfortunately Hamlin took a hard hit. If NASCAR and these track owners were that concerned about preventing these types of incidents they would put safer barriers at every possible location. Stewart has done what he is accusing Lagano of doing many many times. I have seen him approach drivers in the past and give them a shove or two and when interviewed say he is going to kick their ass. And then never does.

  7. dustonf1 - Mar 25, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    Despite previous opinion, I see doctors have confirmed Denny Hamlin has a spine.

  8. worknman24hours - Mar 27, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    I am glad to see Hamlin out of the hospital but he alone is respondsible for his injury.

    As Logano drove away from him,Hamlin drove down on the back of Logano’s car and caused Logano to crash into the outside wall.

    In the process,Hamlin HIMSELF lost control of his race car -ALL BY HIMSELF.

    Had Hamlin not been trying to wreck Logano and instead tried to race him to the line,neither would have wrecked and there might juust have been a chance that Hamlin’s car -which was much faster in pure speed at that time of the race -might have repassed Logano for the win.

    Instead Hamlin has weeks of recovery and months of whining that will undoubetdly come from all sides about this racing accident.

    You had the faster car Denny-if you had moved up and blocked Kyle-you’d have won the race.

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