Denny Hamlin isn't concerned with his torn ACL as he looks to fight for the Sprint Cup title.
Denny Hamlin isn’t exactly pleased with his health situation entering next week’s start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
But he’s confident the torn ACL in his right knee suffered in a basketball game earlier this week won’t prevent him from accomplishing his championship goals this season.
I can do anything I want, just don’t break the law
“There is nothing that should keep me from being in that championship four,” Hamlin said of the season finale in November at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“I think in the car I am going to drive as fast as the car will let me go. I really don’t feel like this will set us back at all. If anything, it juices you up that extra 10 percent to ensure you do your job 110 percent.”
Hamlin has received medical clearance to race with the injury the remainder of the season. He will require surgery in the offseason to repair the damage, however.
Joe Gibbs Racing officials have said the organization is taking a “wait and see approach” on whether Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota team will have a backup driver on hand as standby.
Dealing with the injury
“Obviously the swelling is the biggest issue right now,” Hamlin said, who has been walking around with a single crutch on Friday. “It hurts my mobility and kind of shuts down my quad, so there’s challenges there.”
Hamlin said he felt he jarred his knee early in the game Tuesday night but hit a shot that sent the game into overtime, and he felt obligated to continue. "I was frustrated I wasn't more responsible," he admitted. It was in overtime Hamlin suffered the tear.
When asked if he had any restrictions from JGR on what he can and cannot do outside of the race car, Hamlin said, “I can do anything I want, just don’t break the law.
“There’s really no provisions, or things like that. Joe (Gibbs, team owner) does a good job of letting us be who we want to be outside the race car. Honestly, my activities aren’t that dangerous that I do. It just seems we’ve had some freak accidents.”
Hamlin was 18th fastest in Friday’s first practice session and 42nd fastest in final practice.
Not his first ACL-related injury
This is the second time in Hamlin’s NASCAR career he has suffered a torn ACL.
In January 2010, Hamlin tore the ACL in his left knee while playing basketball. He planned to delay surgery that year until the season ended but eventually had it in late March because of concerns over permanent damage to his knee.
Hamlin, 34, is already locked in the Chase this season with one win. He is eighth in the series standings and will start 25th for this weekend's race at Richmond.