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Denny Hamlin could be out six weeks; Waltrip says all NASCAR tracks need full soft-wall protection

Denny Hamlin could be out six weeks; Waltrip says all NASCAR tracks need full soft-wall protection

Denny Hamlin (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



  By Mike Mulhern

   Denny Hamlin's championship hopes this season were dealt a serious blow Tuesday when doctors, after examining him, indicated he would likely have to sit out six weeks before returning to NASCAR action.
   Hamlin, who has had back problems, reinjured his back in a crash Sunday at California's Auto Club Speedway.
  Hamlin was evaluated by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates after suffering an L1 Compression Fracture.
   Dr. Petty said Hamlin will not require surgery but will need time to properly heal, estimated around six weeks.
    Dr. Petty will make the determination when Hamlin will be able to return to racing this season.
    No decision has been made on a replacement driver for Hamlin during his absence from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.


   The part of the wall that Hamlin hit Sunday was not protected by the soft-wall SAFER barrier, for some reason. NASCAR officials are responsible for telling tracks where to place the soft-walls.

    Darrell Waltrip weighs in on the soft-wall issue, with intensity:

  “Knowing what we know today about safety, there is no excuse for not having SAFER barriers all the way around every track. 

   "It would have made all the difference in the world for Hamlin at Fontana.  That boy wouldn’t have a hurt back now if there were SAFER barriers in place there.  He would have climbed out of the car and just been mad at Joey Logano over their wreck. 

   "But we all saw how violent Hamlin’s hit was -- that whole car came off the ground, much like happened to Elliott Sadler at Pocono a couple of years ago. 

   "We need a SAFER barrier anywhere a car can hit a wall because at 200 miles-per-hour, cars can go places you never dreamed of.  So, why take that chance?

   "With Jeff Gordon hitting the wall at Las Vegas, who would have thought a car could hit there? But cars can and will go anywhere, and we keep learning that lesson the hard way.  If there is a wall around the track, it should be protected.  Hamlin is proof of that."




Fontana softwalls

I was there when Greg Moore lost it coming off turn 2 and died. I think that area on the inside of turn 2 was armco. Maybe Greg or Roger Penske can clairify this. Also, Chip G hit the inside wall starting down the backstretch at Michigan in his last race as a driver. I have seen many crashes at Indy coming off 4 and spinning to the inside. It's an endless discussion......one of the Unser family hit the end of pit wall at Indy when the armco moved because of heavy rains....endless


Well of course soft walls must be installed everywhere at California Speedway..I don\'t even understand why there would be a debate or question! AND, hopefully, any track not completely covered with soft walls will follow suit..or be mandated to by NASCAR. It\'s a no brainer!
I dont blame Logano for Hamlin\'s accident...but I wonder where is mind was, and hope he will rethink when and where he extracts paybacks. I don\'t think anyone thought payback would occur at California..much too fast and wide of a track...I mean hey..Martinsville is upcoming! I think there is the difference between Logano and a really elite driver...Joey intentionally took out Hamlin (He was more then forthcoming on that fact in his post race interview...and he can\'t retract that comment after he found out Hamlin was hurt...he did it...he meant to...and he bragged...there are no do overs!). If he wants to be treated like a man he must act like a man. As far as Stewart goes...I get why he was angry..and at least he chose to take it man to man. Yes, Stewart has blocked many times, caused wrecks...but he has always owned up to it...no excuses. To me, there lies the difference in being an elite driver and just any driver...knowing how to handle yourself and other drivers on and off the track and owning up to your mistakes. Will Logano get there? Not sure..he\'s young..but I\'m not sure he truly \"gets it\"....time will tell.

The Limits Of The SAFER

In the clamor for SAFER barriers in spots that presently don't have them, people seem to be forgetting the serious injuries suffered by Michael Annett at Daytona and Eric McClure last year at Talladega in head-on hits on SAFER barriers. I'm not buying Hamlin would have come out differently had there been a SAFER barrier where he hit.

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