Toyota driver’;s missed race at Fontana had NASCAR rumor mill operating overtime
By: Al Pearce on March 28, 2014
LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC – Denny Hamlin faced the media on Friday at Martinsville Speedway.
Denny Hamlin came out with guns a’;blazing Friday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway, firing away at unnamed men and women who suggested his vision-associated problem last weekend in California was much more than just a sinus infection — perhaps even a failed drug test. It was, in reality, a sliver of metal in his eye that brought on him to miss the 400-lap Sprint Cup race.
On Friday, in his 1st opportunity to tackle the issue, the Toyota driver for Joe Gibbs Racing pulled no punches.
“People who think negatively of me or consider I side-stepped a drug test are ridiculous,” he mentioned angrily. “I’;m in one of the prime 3 cars in NASCAR. I’;d have to be an absolute moron to chance that. I have a daughter I have to offer for for a genuinely long time. For people to query who I am inside and outdoors the race auto, I have in no way done anything at all to even put that in question.
“I got a wakeup phone simply because I don’;t drink, hardly ever. I’;ve in no way carried out drugs, ever. I am as clean as they come. I will not know why individuals question who I am outside the racetrack. I worked too difficult to get right here to throw it all away. It bothers me that my character is being questioned. Men and women consider there is some kind of conspiracy. I am carried out justifying and defending myself. I am not going to allow those individuals drag me down.”
Originally, neither Hamlin nor any person from JGR shed a lot light on his cause for missing the race final weekend at Auto Club Speedway. On Tuesday, Dale Earnhardt Jr. expressed concern that drivers hadn’;t gotten enough info about Hamlin’;s health or what stored him from racing in Fontana. He reminded an audience that it was rare for a driver to be pulled from his trip at the last minute. It was an unmistakable reference to July 2012, when A.J. Allmendinger was taken from his Penske Racing ride just hours prior to the July 400-miler at Daytona Seaside. Allmendinger was suspended from NASCAR that afternoon due to the fact of a failed drug test, but he has been reinstated.
Earnhardt in no way publicly recommended that Hamlin had failed a drug check or refused to take one, but that did not preserve some inside of the NASCAR family from anonymously speaking of that probability. “It bothers me simply because there are people who like to make rumors and, of course, inside of our NASCAR neighborhood, rumors become reality when enough men and women say it,” Hamlin mentioned.
The rest of the story is that Hamlin and his medical doctors feel the metal got in his left eye throughout practice or qualifying on Friday afternoon, either via his helmet-cooling program or below his visor. There was some irritation on Friday night that continued into Saturday morning. “I imagined I was getting a sty because it felt like one particular,” Hamlin explained. “On Saturday, I woke up and it was a little worse. I ran via practice and my vision was fine, just a lot of watering. I did not go to the infield care center until Saturday night.”
The healthcare personnel examined the eye, put dye in it and examined it underneath a black light, but did not see anything at all uncommon. Hamlin woke up Sunday morning feeling worse than ever and returned to the health-related center. “The discomfort was twice as negative, and vision was slightly impaired over exactly where it was Saturday,” Hamlin stated. “I stayed in the infield care center for a couple of hrs and we went over all the prospects of what it could be. The only factor was to go to an optometrist, but it was also late into the day for that and for me to run the race.”
So Hamlin, crew co-proprietor J.D. Gibbs and NASCAR president Mike Helton agreed that holding Hamlin from the race (Sam Hornish drove his No. eleven auto) was the prudent determination. A hospital-based optometrist discovered the metal sliver and removed it on Sunday afternoon. Hamlin flew back to North Carolina on Sunday evening, was examined on Monday and Wednesday, and was cleared to race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.
“I desired to race [in California], no matter what,” Hamlin stated. “I felt like if I was going to be a liability, I would have pulled myself during the race. But it really is not just my safety that has got to be taken into account. We’;re racing about other guys, and which is 1 of the fastest tracks we go to. What if I triggered a wreck early on? I will not want to be a liability. We identified out the issue, but it was as well late by the time we identified it. The track hates me.”
Hamlin and JGR did not say something right up until Wednesday because medical doctors wished to be sure a sinus infection was not the situation. “I don’;t want to be speaking out of line and not understanding precisely what I’;m talking about until finally I knew specifically what the difficulty was,” he explained. “We did not know that till Wednesday when I finally acquired cleared, and they ran all the exams once more to make certain I was 100 percent. I don’;t require to actually justify a whole lot to a great deal of individuals.”
Ultimately, Hamlin had this warning for the competitors: “I’;m going to win this weekend,” he said defiantly, “I guarantee.”
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