Denny Hamlin has been diagnosed with a broken back after a violent last lap crash in Sunday's NASCAR race at Auto Club Speedway. According to a statement from Joe Gibbs Racing:
"Hamlin suffered a L1 Compression Fracture following an accident on the final lap of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
"Hamlin hopes to be released today to fly to his home in North Carolina where he will be evaluated by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates later this week."
There is no status update on whether Hamlin will compete when the Sprint Cup Series returns after a week hiatus April 7 at Martinsville Speedway.
Hamlin was racing Joey Logano for the lead Sunday when the two made contact in Turn 3, resulting in Hamlin's Toyota veering head-on into the inside concrete retaining wall which was not covered with a SAFER barrier. Hamlin got out of the car without assistance, but quickly sat on the ground and received medical attention.
He was then transported to an onsite medical facility before being airlifted to a local hospital for further evaluation and was held overnight for further observation.
Hamlin has a history of back injuries and sat out a round of Cup practice and the Nationwide Series race at Daytona last July with a bulging and torn disk in his back.