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NASCAR's Hamlin has compression fracture

March 25, 2013 at 8:09 PM   |   Comments

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FONTANA, Calif., March 25 (UPI) -- NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin has a compression fracture in his spine from a final-lap crash with Joey Logano at Fontana, Calif., Hamlin's team said Monday.

Joe Gibbs Racing officials announced Hamlin will meet with a specialist this week after sustaining an L1 vertebrae compression fracture, NASCAR.com reported.

The driver of the No. 11 Toyota was jockeying with Logano for the lead down the stretch of Sunday's Auto Club 400 when the two made contact and crashed, allowing Kyle Busch to sneak through for the victory.

Hamlin is listed as uncertain for the upcoming Martinsville race, which is in two weeks.

After the crash, Hamlin collapsed to the track and had to be carted away on a stretcher, while Logano, who ended up in sixth, got into a fight with fellow driver Tony Stewart on pit road.

Stewart was upset that Logano blocked him during a late-race restart.

The altercation involved crew members from both drivers' teams and Tony Gibson, crew chief for Danica Patrick, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported.

NASCAR officials said they separated the combatants, cleared pit road and will review videotapes to determine if penalties will be assessed.

Logano told USA Today he didn't realize Hamlin was involved in such a hard crash when he criticized him in the moments after the event, saying he had "no idea" Hamlin was hurt or even had hit the wall hard.

"I just thought we were racing hard, you know?" he told the newspaper. "It happens. You don't ever want anyone to get hurt; you don't ever want anything to happen, especially to Denny. We were racing really hard there at the end of the race."

Stewart, 42, made it clear he has a big beef with Logano, 23.

"It's time he learns a lesson. He's run his mouth long enough," Stewart said, referring to him as a "little rich kid" who needs to "learn from us working guys who had to work our way up."

Stewart has often mentioned his disdain for drivers who use blocking techniques on a track, a maneuver not prohibited by NASCAR, the Observer said.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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