When Denny Hamlin was taken off the track on a stretcher at the Auto Club 400 on Sunday, there was some concern about the extent of his injury and the potential recovery time. We learned yesterday that Hamlin suffered a broken back in the Fontana crash thanks to some aggressive driving from Joey Logano and now today Joe Gibbs Racing said the driver will be out for at least six weeks.
Marty Smith of ESPN passed along the report:
Joe Gibbs Racing announces Denny Hamlin out six weeks due to back injury. No word on replacement driver yet.
— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) March 27, 2013
Luckily for Hamlin, he will not need surgery for the injury.
Hamlin will miss races at Martinsville, Texas, Kansas, Richmond, and Talladega over the next month and a half. If he was to return at the six week mark, he would be back in time for the race at Darlington.
In the NASCAR Cup Standing following the Auto Club 400, Hamlin was sitting in tenth place.
He will obviously fall down the ranking while he is recovering from the back injury. We wish Hamlin a speedy and full recovery.