Hamlin 'good to go' after Kansas crash
Denny Hamlin says he feels “100 percent” after Thursday’s vicious testing wreck at Kansas Speedway.
Hamlin, who is currently third in the Sprint Cup point standings, was working his third lap when he lost control of the car and it snapped into the wall.
NASCAR officials told the driver the car was traveling 202 mph at the moment of impact. But he was back to work Thursday afternoon and Friday. He qualified ninth on Friday with a lap of 190.718 mph.
"Thought I was good yesterday and then obviously I got better with every hour, but today after waking up I'm 100 percent and good to go,” Hamlin said Friday. “Really it's just business as usual for the weekend. The race weekend really starts today, so we really haven't lost too much and I feel like we're up to speed with where we need to be."
Still, NASCAR’s medical liaisons have been persistent with Hamlin following his crash. Hamlin says he’s received texts and calls “before you even wake up” checking on his condition. But that’s not unusual despite the recent news of Dale Earnhardt Jr. racing with a concussion after his testing wreck in August.
“They do it all the time,” Hamlin said. "Really, in all type of wrecks that I've been a part of this year — it's been the next day and the following day that they continue to check up on you to make sure you're feeling okay and things like that.
“It won't change the way I run. I just think that I'm just the next guy in line that hit a wall hard. When someone wrecks on Sunday, if someone does wreck, they'll be the next one up that's got to go through the scrutiny of basically going through the tests, going through all the questions that you have to answer. It won't affect my weekend, at least for now."
Although Hamlin destroyed his primary car — which was the same Camry he led 193 of 300 laps at New Hampshire — the team was able to unload his backup on Thursday. The car was Hamlin’s Chicagoland ride, which he led a lap in and raced in the top five for most of the day before running out of fuel in the closing laps.
"I think we got about an hour — maybe a little bit more — and about 30-something laps,” Hamlin said. “So, we didn't get all the test time that we wanted. But luckily for us, there was so much oil and wrecks that were going on the track that it kind of evened the playing field for everyone.
“. . . The biggest thing that hurt us is that the car that we are now running didn't have any data on it, so we had to run the whole test day with no data. So, that part of it was tough."
Hamlin ran 21 laps with the car on Friday during the first test at Kansas. He was only able to post the 21st fastest lap, 11th quick among the Chase for the Sprint Cup contending teams.
Following the repave at Kansas, Hamlin says the track doesn’t compare to other 1.5-milers.
“It feels totally different than any other track that we race at all year long,” Hamlin said. “Before you could compare it to a couple other tracks, but this is really a beast in its own that we're running the speeds that we're running on the banking that we're running.
“Honestly, I look at our setup and I say it's unlike anything that we run at any other race tracks. I think this is a one-off type race that just happens to be in the Chase, and so you better perform at it."