Hamlin Hospitalized Overnight After Hard Crash

Julianna HarrellCorrespondent IOctober 6, 2008

NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Denny Hamlin was taken to the infield care center, then to the University of Alabama Birmingham Hospital following a hard crash at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday.

On lap 99, Hamlin was leading the Amp Energy 500 when the right front tire on his No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota violently exploded, sending his car up the racetrack and into the outside wall.

Crew Chief Mike Ford said it was unclear if the tire failure was caused by debris or a deficiency in the Goodyear product.

When Hamlin said nothing over his in-car radio after the impact, his spotter, Curtis Markham, was heard asking if he was okay then telling him to just catch his breath.

Hamlin climbed from the car slowly under his own power, but was then assisted to a stretcher by emergency personnel.

He was complaining of a headache and was thought to possibly have a concussion. He was also favoring his right foot as he limped away from his severely damaged car.

Hamlin was described as "alert and awake" as he was transported to the hospital by ambulance. As a precaution, Hamlin was kept overnight for further observation. 

J.D. Gibbs, President of Joe Gibbs Racing, issued a comment after the incident:

"Denny's alert and doing well. He's got a little headache so they're going to take him to Birmingham just to keep an eye on him. The tire went down and it was quite a shot he took when he hit the wall. The good news is that he feels pretty good, but we're just going to take every precaution to make sure he's okay."

On Monday, Hamlin was released from the hospital with no reports of any serious injuries.

JGR spokesman Jon Mason said Hamlin returned to his home where he is expected to rest a sore foot.

Mason stated that doctors are likely to give Hamlin the go-ahead to compete in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.

Mason added, "as it stands, [Hamlin] is likely to be in the car on Thursday" for practice.

Hamlin was scored in the 39th position after the race and fell two spots to the 12th and final slot amongst the Chasers in the point standings, 335 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.