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Hamlin escapes his first car fire at Michigan

June 18, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service,

BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Capping a miserable day for Joe Gibbs Racing, Denny Hamlin's Toyota spun off Turn 4 after contact with Ryan Newman's Chevrolet on Lap 133 and slid into the infield grass.

As Hamlin drove the car down pit road, trailing oil, the car burst into flames. Hamlin parked at the entrance to the garage with the right side of his car blazing and smoke filling the cockpit. Kyle Busch's and Ryan Newman's crews ran to the scene and helped Hamlin climb from the car as safety workers used fire extinguishers to douse the flames.

Video: Hamlin spins, catches fire at Michigan

It was Hamlin's first experience with fire in a race car, and not one he is eager to repeat.

"I've never actually been in that position before," Hamlin said. "I'd seen it with other guys, but I've never known what it's actually like -- but it gets hot. I thought for a second there I was OK. [The fire] was just in the back [of the car], and then something exploded in the front, and it caught on fire.

"Thankfully, we've got everything that we have safety-wise. One good thing at least is that Ryan's guys came and got me out -- and a couple of the No. 18 [Busch's] guys. NASCAR is a family, and any time anyone is in trouble, everyone is going to try to help. It's good that those guys were around and willing to take a chance."

Hamlin finished 34th, one position better than teammate Joey Logano, who wrecked on the backstretch on Lap 136. Busch had the best result of the JGR contingent. Engine troubles dropped him to 32nd, but at least his No. 18 Camry was running at the finish.