Denny Hamlin is a trooper; he won’t let his persistent and horrible back pain, augmented by a fractured vertebra suffered in March, prevent him from competing the rest of the season despite many analysts advising him to have surgery and come back recovered next year.
Hamlin spoke with USA Today before his qualifying run for Sunday’s Samuel Deeds 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
It’s tough because there are no backups in our sport. I’m the face of our team — the (Joe) Gibbs (Racing) team, FedEx, everyone — so you can’t just insert another player for the rest of the year and have no one know the difference. You know, I’ve got to do whatever I’ve got to do to just get through the season, honestly. And then I can figure out what I can do to (feel) better next year.
But right now, we’re just in a mode of trying to finish races.
And people say NASCAR drivers aren’t tough.
Hamlin has struggled recently, crashing three times in his last five races. Let’s hope he turns his fortunes around on Sunday.