Hamlin Talks Recovery, Relationship & Past with Logano
Denny Hamlin, recovering from a back injury sustained in an accident involving Joey Logano at Auto Club Speedway, spoke with SPEED reporter Kaitlyn Vincie on Wednesday at the Joe Gibbs Racing race shop. Following is the transcript from the interview that aired on NASCAR Race Hub:
Q: How is your recovery coming along?
Hamlin: “I feel not completely back to normal but I at least can walk around and be a little bit more mobile. I’m past the physical hurdles that this injury has given me. It’s just now the mental of not being able to get in the race car for the next six weeks.”
Q: Have you targeted a certain race you’d like to get back in the car?
Hamlin: “I’m being very optimistic and I’m not following orders, but I’d like to be back in it at … Richmond would be a target week I’d love to get back in the car. I think it would be a great thing to be at my home track and back in the car, but obviously it’s a little sooner than the timetable set for me. I’m going to physically feel fine. Unfortunately there’s things going on inside my body that aren’t going to allow me to get in the race car until they’re ready.”
Q: When you do get back in competition, are you going to have to wear some sort of back brace?
Hamlin: “That’s yet to be determined. I haven’t crossed that bridge with the doctors yet of talking about getting back in the car. Ultimately, I’ve been through so many scans and everything that we’re trying to keep the radiation levels down on me as much as possible, so we’ll scan every couple of weeks here for a while. That’s when we’ll decide whether I’ll need the brace inside the race car or not. It just kind of depends on how my body feels.”
Q: You told the Associated Press that the text conversation between you and Joey Logano didn’t go so well. Are you still angry with him?
Hamlin: “I’m upset that things just couldn’t be let go. We had a great opportunity at the end of that race to let bygones be bygones. I literally played out in my mind that if he wins this race, I was going to shake his hand right there on pit lane and congratulate him and tell him, ‘This is how we should be racing each other.’ Unfortunately, it didn’t play out for either one of us. I was upset that we had an opportunity to change how we race each other and he just didn’t let it go.”
Q: When did that conflict really begin? Have you two always not gotten along?
Hamlin: “We got along fine as teammates, I felt like. We had the on-track stuff every now and then, just like every teammate does. I can’t tell you anyone that has been teammates that didn’t think their teammate didn’t race them harder than they should have at times. We had that spurt every now and then but nothing outside of the race car; nothing that really sparked the feud that we had. I ultimately spun him out at Bristol. I did not intend to spin him out. It was a mistake. I said it was mistake. Said I was sorry on the radio when it happened. That was in retaliation to being chopped off twice and it frustrated me and I intended on bumping him, and then I did and it spun him out. He crammed us on the restart and it made our day bad. Blew a tire and we finished 25th. In my opinion, he retaliated at Bristol, and it was over at that point. I didn’t realize going forward that it was going to continue. Obviously he still had a good finish and I ended up 25th and flying to the hospital.”