Denny Hamlin has seen both drivers from his 23XI Racing team experience one big crash in the Next Gen car. Bubba Wallace has been outspoken about the intensity of his multiple crashes. By contrast, Kurt Busch kept quiet about his impact during qualifying at Pocono, but his absence for the past six races and an as-yet-undetermined return date has spoken volumes.
Last weekend, the three-time Daytona 500 winner finally got the full Next Gen car experience, not in a good way. After hearing about so many drivers taking heavier-than-usual impacts in the new car all season, the 41-year-old felt the full effect of such a crash on Sunday. Both his immediate reaction, which was painful and unsettling to hear over the team radio, and his post-race comments were just confirmation of what every other driver has said this year about the car and the bottom line is: NASCAR has a issue.
Denny Hamlin involved in his first big hit of the season
Denny Hamlin found himself in a familiar position Sunday at Daytona, running out front toward the end of the race. That’s how he’s collected three Harley J. Earl trophies in the last seven years.
With 23 laps in and the No. 11 leading the field, it looked like the Joe Gibbs Racing driver was the man to beat. Then Mother Nature stepped in and produced a rain-slicked track at Turns 1 and 2 that resulted in a massive accident, with Hamlin the first of several cars to inexplicably make sharp right-hand turns and crash violently into the wall. Exterior.
“Are you okay?” Chris Lambert, the No. 11 team spotter, asked the driver over the team radio.
“Aaaaah,” Hamlin responded with a painful groan.
“Are you okay? Catch your breath. Talk to me when you can,” said the observer.
“Aaaah, fucking hurt,” the driver said, out of breath.
“Take deep breaths here. Deep breaths here. Don’t do anything in a hurry,” Lambert told him.
The conversation continued for several moments between Lambert and crew chief Chris Gabehart, with both agreeing that they were unhappy that the accident had been caused by rain and injured their driver.
Hamlin talks about feeling like a boxer hit him
After a visit to the infield care center, Hamlin met with reporters and discussed his perspective on the crash, from the wet track that caused the accident to hitting the outside wall. A reporter asked if his head had hit something because Gabehart had been inspecting his helmet.
“No, just my whole body,” he said. “Literally, my jaw hurts. I feel like my jaw is one of those boxers that ends up with their entire face demolished. That was definitely the first really big one I had in this car. Everything that they have been telling us, all the other drivers, is true. It is legit.”
Bubba Wallace gets angry on the radio for his great success in the race
Hamlin wasn’t the only Toyota in the big crash. Bubba Wallace was also involved. Interestingly, the driver who has already spoken about his intense hitting at Atlanta and Talladega was not one of the cars that hit the fence. Instead, the No. 23 turned left to prevent cars from colliding further up the track.
Unfortunately, with so many cars going in so many different directions, Wallace’s car took a couple of hits to the rear from Harrison Burton and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The driver wasn’t happy with the intensity of those hits and made it clear on the radio. of the team.
“NASCAR, these cars suck when they hit you in the rear,” he said angrily. “I never thought I would be out of breath if I got hit in the rear. What a fucking joke we ran.”
This “joke” of a car is quickly becoming a serious matter. Multiple drivers in recent months have spoken out about the most intense hits on the car. Hamlin added his name to the list on Sunday. Kurt Busch has been sidelined for more than a month with an impact concussion. Something is not right and fans can only hope that NASCAR is working feverishly behind the scenes to resolve this issue before someone else is injured or, worse, killed.
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