Joe Gibbs Racing announced on Tuesday evening that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin will be out of commission for approximately six weeks as a result of an L1 compression fracture suffered during a last-lap crash Sunday during the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
The incident that resulted in the spinal injury occurred as Hamlin and Joe Logano raced side-by-side in the closing laps for the race win. On the final lap, their two cars made contact that sent Logano into the outside retaining wall and Hamlin’s car head-on into the inside retaining wall.
After the wreck, Hamlin was able to climb out of the car under his own power, but collapsed soon after getting out of the race. He remained awake and alert and was transported to a local hospital after being examined at the track’s infield care center. Upon returning home to the Charlotte, N.C., area, Hamlin was examined by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates on Tuesday.
Hamlin will not require surgery, but will need about six weeks out of the race car to properly heal from the injury. Joe Gibbs Racing has not yet made an announcement regarding who will be Hamlin’s temporary replacement behind the wheel of the No. 11 Toyota.
Logano was not injured in the incident.
The Sprint Cup Series will be off during the Easter weekend. The next race on the schedule will be April 7 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR