Hamlin says back is fine, plans to run full season When Denny Hamlin clobbered the Turn 4 wall at Kentucky Speedway on Sunday, the first thought of most who watched had to be, "Oh, no, not the back." Fortunately, there was no basis for concern for the driver who had missed four races earlier this season because of a compression fracture of his first lumbar vertebra. The impact on Lap 147 of the Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was severe, and Hamlin was shaken up, but his back was fine. Team owner Joe Gibbs visited Hamlin in the infield care center after the wreck. Hamlin was released shortly thereafter. "I think our cars are so safe, and to show you, in 22 years, we've only had one person miss a race, and that was Denny, when he had the problem earlier this year," Gibbs told the NASCAR Wire Service. "So to be quite truthful, I didn't see it, so I was just going back, and I didn't realize he hit that hard. And so when I got back there (to the garage), he said, 'Man, I've got a headache, like you wouldn't believe.' And he banged his knee on the inside (of the car). Then we went to the care center, and right away, he said, "I started feeling better and better and better." On Monday, Hamlin plans to go ahead with a scheduled test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "They called the doctor over there, he's going to take a look at him before he gets in the car, but I think we are in good shape there," Gibbs said. NASCAR Wire Service
AND from a Toyota Racing transcript: Q) Do you plan to continue with the rest of the season? Hamlin: "Definitely have to proceed on. I have a test in Indy tomorrow that we're going to do to try to get better and get to performing better. Really today it was the best performance for us in a while. Hopefully at least something to build off of even though we don't have a good finish." Q) Will you still contend to make the Chase? Hamlin: "I felt pretty good about the way we were racing today. We were with the right track position, we could run with everybody except for maybe the 48 (Jimmie Johnson). We're just going to try to win races and that's what my job is for the rest of the year is to try to win and do the best I can for my sponsors and my team. Really the biggest thing I was pushing for was to get my team into the Chase. Had an opportunity owner's points-wise to get into the Chase and this is obviously another hit." Q) How hard was the hit? Hamlin: "It's very similar to Kansas of last year during the test day of the race weekend. Flat right side hit, especially, you are picking up a lot of speed off of (turn) four here. For me, it didn't go down slowly like the tire did the first time -- this one just blew out solid and quick. Obviously, when I lost steering I hit flat. I would rather hit head-on anywhere than flat up against the wall on these walls." Toyota Racing
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