Denny Hamlin plans to attend this weekend’s NASCAR race at Martinsville, Va., which means his feud with Joey Logano didn’t cool down during the sport’s Easter weekend off.
Hamlin is out for six weeks after suffering a compression fracture in his back in a wreck with Logano, his former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, on March 24. He still isn’t buying Logano’s assertion that the wreck was an accident as the two dueled for position on the last lap of the Auto Club 400. Initially after the wreck and before he knew the extent of Hamlin’s injury, Logano had said that Hamlin had gotten what he deserved.
“I don’t blame him for the particular injury,” Hamlin said (via USA Today). “I do for the wreck. The injury was circumstantial. A wreck on a two-mile speedway, you risk getting hurt. That frustrates me the most. Listening to him say, ‘I’m sure Denny’s fine, these cars are safe.’ That really gets to me because he’s taking for granted no matter how hard you wreck, you’re going to be fine.
“That’s why people don’t wreck each other intentionally on big racetracks. This is what can happen. He was being very careless and not caring about any repercussions and taking for granted how safe the cars have been over the years.”
Hamlin’s car struck an inner wall, where there was no SAFER (steel and foam energy reduction) barrier, head on.
“That is taking for granted what we do is just, that we’re superman and we can’t be hurt,” Hamlin said. “That’s why people don’t wreck each other on 200 mile-per-hour racetracks, because this is what can happen. You’ve got to think about that as a driver. You can’t just throw caution to the wind. Because no one’s gotten killed in 10 years, it’s okay to just wreck someone at 200? It’s not okay, because I have a daughter now. I’d like to do things with her when I get older.
“Don’t take my health for granted just because you want to retaliate.”
Hamlin became emotional as he talked about his rehab.
“Well, it’s personal because I’m the one who has to go through rehab three times a week. I’m the one that’s got to wear this brace for six weeks or however long,” he told ESPN. “He gets to go to a racetrack. I’m the one that has to deal with the repercussion from this wreck. He’s going to move on, as if nothing happened, this weekend at Martinsville.”
Hamlin admitted it won’t be easy to watch this weekend. For now, though, he’ll have to leave the feudin’ up to Stewart, Logano and others.