Hamlin can’t survive second blown tire

Denny Hamlin survived his first blown tire on Sunday, but not his second at Kentucky Speedway.

Hamlin, who soldiered back and was running in the top 5 after a tire blew on Lap 38, hit the wall in Turn 4 on Lap 147.

“Oh man, oh (expletive),” Hamlin radioed after the incident.

After Hamlin fractured his vertebra on March 24 at Auto Club Speedway, the driver took the necessary precautions and voluntarily went to the infield care center after driving the No. 11 Toyota back to the garage.

“Just kind of wracked around a little bit, similar to the Kansas test last year where you got your bell rung, banged my knee pretty good against the steering wheel,” Hamlin said. “I feel a lot better than I did just 10 minutes ago.”

Fortunately, Hamlin doesn’t believe he did any further damage to his back.

“My back feels good — really good I say,” Hamlin said. “It feels the same as it did this morning. Really, that was the least of the concerns after this hit.”

Hamlin entered the Quaker State 400 25th in the point standings following a 23rd-place finish last week at Sonoma. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver will likely take another hit again in the rankings on Sunday (he ended up finishing 35th).

Still, Hamlin, who has qualified for every Chase to the Sprint Cup since he was eligible for the program in 2006, still refuses to give up despite just nine races remaining before NASCAR’s “playoffs.”

“I felt pretty good about the way we were running today,” Hamlin said. “With the right track position we could run with just about anybody except for maybe the 48.

"We’re just going to try to win races. That’s what my job for the rest of the year is to try to win and do the best I can for the sponsors and my team.

“The biggest thing I was pushing for was to get my team in the Chase. This is obviously another hit.”