Denny Hamlin airlifted to hospital, will stay overnight

5:27 AM, Mar 25, 2013   |    comments
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FONTANA, Calif. - Denny Hamlin will remain hospitalized overnight after being airlifted to a local hospital after a hard single-car crash at the inside wall on the final lap of Sunday's Auto Club 400.

Hamlin was awake and alert in the infield care center before being transported, but was taken to the hospital after complaining of lower back pain. A helicopter was used due to post-race traffic.

The name of the hospital was not released.

Hamlin was helped from his car after the hard hit and seemed to collapse outside his car after he had pulled the window net down. He was taken by ambulance to the infield care center, where crew chief Darian Grubb hurried inside to check on the driver.

Hamlin's girlfriend, Jordan Fish, tweeted Sunday night: "Thank u everyone for your messages concerning Denny. Darian is keeping us posted. He's alert n awake, main concern is his back #PrayersforDH"

Kyle Busch passed a wrecking Joey Logano and Hamlin to win the race.

FULL RESULTS: Auto Club 400

EXTRACURRICULARS: Tony Stewart, Joey Logano fight after race

Logano and Hamlin, who have traded barbs since the season opening Daytona 500, battled side by side, bumping and passing in the closing laps.

They were drag racing down the backstretch, but Logano got loose on the bottom and made contact. Logano went into the outside wall, Hamlin went into the inside wall and Busch sailed by for the win.

"After what happened last week, that's what (Hamlin) gets," Logano said following the race. "We have nothing to hang our heads about, that's for sure."

Logano left JGR to join reigning Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski at Penkse Racing to start the season.

The feud between Hamlin and Logano started at this season's Daytona 500, where Hamlin was unhappy with the way he claimed his former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate clogged traffic near the end of the race. In a Twitter message to Brad Keselowski, Hamlin referred to Logano as a "genius teammate."

Last week at Bristol Motor Speedway, Hamlin tapped Logano into a spin in Turn 2 while battling for second with 152 laps remaining. Logano went to Hamlin's No. 11 Toyota to confront him after the race before being separated by crewmembers.

"It's frustrating," Logano said. "We've got a freaking genius behind the wheel of the 11 car. Probably the worst teammate I've ever had. So I learn that now. He chose to run into the back of me. So whatever. I have a scorecard. I ain't putting up with that."

That escalated into a war of words on Twitter afterward with Logano writing, "Hey @dennyhamlingreat job protecting that genius brain of yours by keeping your helmet on." Hamlin responded with "Why's that ... what would u do?", prompting @joeylogano to reply "Show you some love and appreciation." Hamlin responded, "Need my address?" And then: "Last time I checked he had my cell and direct message button to choose from if he's got a problem ... Otherwise hush little child."

Though Hamlin showed slight remorse on Friday over some of his comments, Logano made it clear through short answers that the ill feelings aren't going away anytime soon.

In one-sentence responses, Logano vowed to race Hamlin "the way he raced me" and said there won't be any resolution "until anyone says anything to me personally."

"I haven't gotten a phone call, so he can tell you whatever he wants, right?" Logano said to reporters.

Minutes earlier, Hamlin told the media he regretted questioning Logano's driving ability because "I didn't need to give my opinion on that; I think it was kind of a low blow."

When the two were teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing, Hamlin said, they clashed on the racetrack several times but it was kept out of the spotlight.

"It never really was public, but we had times where it was like, 'Hey, why'd you race me that way?' or vice versa," Hamlin said. "I think I had just as much disappointment as him on the racetrack as teammates as he had in me. I think it was an even shake there.

"Off the racetrack, we'd see each other on the racetrack in Monday morning meetings and be like nothing ever happened."

It was Busch's first win of the season after he had flirted with winning several times in the first four races.

"They forgot about me. I knew they were going to," Busch said. "It's so fun to come out here and perform like this."

Busch acknowledged that he probably wouldn't have pulled out the victory if not for Logano and Hamlin's heated battle, which he called "golden."

"I was just thinking, hopefully I can get by before they wreck. I can make this happen," Busch said.

Contributing: Nate Ryan in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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