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Hamlin '100 percent' day after testing crash

October 19, 2012, David Caraviello,

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- One day following a big crash that left him feeling dizzy immediately afterward, Denny Hamlin said he felt fine and was ready for the race weekend at Kansas Speedway.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver hit the Turn 1 wall hard early in Thursday's testing session on the resurfaced 1.5-mile oval, and at the urging of Sprint Cup officials visited the infield care center even though he drove his wrecked vehicle back to the garage. Hamlin admitted to doctors that he felt dizzy right after the accident, and they advised him to sit out an hour and come back for reevaluation, after which they cleared him to return to competition.

"It won't change the way I run."


On Friday, the championship contender -- Hamlin is 15 points behind Chase leader Brad Keselowski -- said he was feeling no ill effects from the accident, which totaled his primary car for the weekend and forced him into a backup.

"I feel 100 percent [Friday]," he said after opening Sprint Cup practice. "I thought I was doing good [Thursday], and obviously I got better with every hour, but [Friday] after waking up it's 100 percent and good to go. So really, it's just business as usual for the weekend. The race weekend really starts [Friday]. We really haven't lost too much, and I feel like we're at the speed we need to be."

Hamlin's primary was the same car he used in a dominant victory four weeks ago at New Hampshire, where he led 193 laps. His backup is the vehicle he drove in the Chase opener at Chicagoland, were Hamlin was fourth on the final lap before he ran out of fuel and wound up 16th. He was a second faster in the backup on Friday (speeds) -- but so was everyone else, he said, given that speeds are picking up with more rubber being put down on the facility's new surface.

Hamlin said he returned to the track for about an hour Thursday, making 30 laps in the backup car after his crash. "We didn't get all the test time we wanted, but lucky for us there was so much oil and wrecks that were going on on the track that it kind of evened the playing field everyone," he said. But the backup car wasn't outfitted for data acquisition, which is allowed during test sessions but not for practices, so the No. 11 team didn't get as much information as it might have with the primary vehicle.

Hamlin's crash comes on the heels of two concussions suffered in recent weeks by Dale Earnhardt Jr., which sidelined NASCAR's most popular driver for at least two weeks. Hamlin said Thursday was the first time he could remember being advised to go to the care center after driving a wrecked car back to the garage. But the follow-up he's received in the aftermath of the accident, he added, is consistent with what he's experienced in the past.

"They're there calling and texting you before you even wake up, wanting to check up on you, and they do it all the time," he 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 they continue to check up on you and make sure you're feeling OK and things like that. It won't change the way I run -- I think 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 going through the scrutiny of basically going through the tests, going through all the questions you have to answer. It won't affect my weekend, at least for now."

His primary out of commission, Denny Hamlin is pleased with his backup's speed despite a middle-of-the-pack first practice at Kansas. (Getty Images)

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