Hamlin out six weeks; Stewart not be punished
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Denny Hamlin will be sidelined at least six weeks because of a fractured vertebra sustained in a last-lap crash at California.
Hamlin was evaluated by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates. While it was determined Hamlin won’t need surgery, the L1 compression fracture in his lower back needs time to heal.
“Dr. Petty will make the determination when Hamlin will be able to return to racing this season,” Joe Gibbs Racing said in a statement.
NASCAR won’t penalize Tony Stewart for scuffling with Joey Logano on pit road at California and saw nothing to indicate Logano or Denny Hamlin were trying to intentionally wreck each other as they raced for the win.
In addition, NASCAR officials have given no thought to policing blocking, which is what Logano did to Stewart on the final restart to trigger the post-race confrontation.