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Hamlin suffers L1 compression fracture

March 25, 2013, Kenny Bruce, NASCAR.com

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Driver uncertain for Martinsville race; will meet with specialist later this week

Joe Gibbs Racing officials announced that driver Denny Hamlin suffered a L1 compression fracture during Sunday’s last-lap crash in the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.

Hamlin, who was released from the hospital Monday night according to JGR, is scheduled to be evaluated by Dr. Jerry Petty later this week in North Carolina.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is off until April 5-7 when the series heads to Martinsville Speedway.

Video: Hamlin, Logano wreck | Stewart confronts Logano

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Following contact with Joey Logano’s Penske Racing Ford during Sunday's race, Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota struck the inside wall near the entrance to pit road with such force that the impact lifted Hamlin’s car completely off the ground.

Although he was able to climb from his car without assistance, Hamlin quickly went to the pavement. Rescue workers placed him on a stretcher and, after being evaluated in the track’s infield medical center, Hamlin was flown to a local hospital and held overnight.

Logano had the lead on the final restart of the race, which came with 11 laps remaining. With less than three laps left, Hamlin had caught Logano; heading across the start/finish line for the final lap the two were side-by-side.

The two cars remained door to door down the backstretch. As they raced into Turn 4, Logano’s car went high, made contact and eventually came across the nose of Hamlin’s Toyota. Logano struck the outside wall while Hamlin spun and slid straight toward the inside barrier.

“He probably shouldn’t have done what he did last week,” Logano said afterward, “so that’s what he gets.” Logano was reportedly unaware that Hamlin had been injured and was to be transported to a local hospital when asked about the last-lap incident.

It was the second consecutive week that Logano and Hamlin had been involved in late-race contact. A week earlier at Bristol Motor Speedway, Logano was running second to Jeff Gordon when Hamlin, who was third, nudged the 22-year-old driver, sending Logano's car into the wall.

Moments after the race, Logano approached Hamlin to express his displeasure, leading to a shoving match between the crews of the two drivers.

“That’s a freaking genius behind the wheel of the 11 car,” Logano said later. “Probably the worst teammate I ever had, so I learned that now. He decided to run himself into the back of me, so, whatever. I have a scorecard and I’m not putting up with that.”

The two were teammates until JGR replaced Logano during the offseason with 2003 Sprint Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth. Logano moved to Penske, where he is now paired with defending series champion Brad Keselowski.

“He pinched me up against the wall twice and really, had I not checked up, he would have been in the garage anyway with no radiator,” Hamlin previously said of the Bristol incident. “It’s just one of those things. It’s Bristol racing.”

Hamlin, who has 22 career wins in the Cup series, was credited with a 25th-place finish Sunday. He is 10th in the series’ points standings.

Logano, who finished third Sunday, currently is ninth in the standings.

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