Denny Hamlin is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car driver, born in November 1985. He grew up in the state of Virginia where he quickly became interested in racing. At age 19, he won his first major NASCAR series – the 2004 Busch Series championship. Even though it wasn’t his rookie season, he managed to beat out Tony Stewart, Jase Gordon, and Matt Kenseth in the final standings. At 22, he became one of the youngest drivers to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race which was held on March 20th, 2006 at California Speedway. He remained at Joe Gibbs Racing up till 2010. In 2011, Denny Hamlin joined another team – Joe Gibbs Racing’s development squad – and that same year he won the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In 2012 his team finished second in Sprint Cup Series Team Owner’s Championship and Denny Hamlin became a winner of one last race before the end of the season, this time it was at Phoenix International Raceway. On 27th July 2014, he won his second Sprint Cup Series race, this time at Daytona International Speedway. He finished the 2014 season in 6th place.
Denny Hamlin is married to Jordan Fish and has two sons from a previous marriage.
What happened on 5th January 2015?
Two days before the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ (the highest division of one of the most popular racing series) season’s first race, Denny Hamlin was involved in a car crash at the training session.
He crashed into an inside wall that had no SAFER barrier on its right side since it wasn’t located near any other track sections. SAFER barriers are special walls designed to deflect impact energy and reduce the risk of serious injury to drivers in case they crash into them.
While trying to avoid hitting another car, Denny Hamlin’s car veered left and slammed into the unprotected wall at a speed over 100 mph. The impact was so hard that it bent his roll cage.
At first, Denny Hamlin didn’t feel any pain since he was wearing his seat belt and the airbag had been deployed on him. As he was unbuckling his belt though, he felt something pop in his back which quickly worsened the pain.
When fellow drivers were asking if he was alright he managed to answer that he didn’t feel good but it wasn’t until then that they noticed that something was wrong.
Denny Hamlin was immediately taken to the nearby Halifax Medical Center located in Daytona Beach, Florida where doctors determined that his T5 vertebrae had been fractured.
What effect did the crash have on Denny Hamlin’s racing plans?
As soon as Denny Hamlin was out of danger, JGR officials announced that he would be replaced by Matt Kenseth in the Sprint Cup Series’ first race – The Daytona 500 on 7th February. Also, since then, all of the team’s officials have been referring to this upcoming season as Denny Hamlin’s comeback one which is a huge boost for him and his fans.
Denny Hamlin plans on participating in practice sessions from 13th February but he won’t be able to return just yet as he still has to go through physical therapy and overcome occasional pain.
Doctors don’t expect his fractured vertebrae to heal 100% but they do say that Denny Hamlin won’t have any long-term damage because of it thanks to the fact that it’s a “stable fracture”.
Will Denny Hamlin make a full recovery and return to NASCAR Sprint Cup racing?
Denny Hamlin’s doctor said that he doesn’t see any reason why Denny Hamlin won’t make a complete recovery, according to him it should take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months. This means there are still high chances of him making a full comeback before the end of the season. While he won’t be as active as he’s used to during the first part of this year, Denny Hamlin should return just in time for the Chase – a series of 10 races that will determine Championship’s top 10 drivers who will, later on, compete in the Sprint Cup Series Championship.