Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

March 27, 2013

NASCAR: Hamlin out 6 weeks with fractured vertebra

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Denny Hamlin will be sidelined at least six weeks because of a fractured vertebra sustained in a last-lap crash at California.

Hamlin was evaluated Tuesday by Dr. Jerry Petty of Carolina Neurosurgery and Spine Associates. While it was determined Hamlin won't need surgery, the L1 compression fracture in his lower back needs time to heal.

"Dr. Petty will make the determination when Hamlin will be able to return to racing this season," Joe Gibbs Racing said in a statement.

While there was no official word from Hamlin in the statement, he tweeted: "I wish I got good news today.. I didn't."

Hamlin has made 264 consecutive Sprint Cup Series starts, 13th most among active drivers. He raced two weeks after undergoing knee surgery during an off week in 2010, and completed the race at Phoenix without a replacement driver despite obvious pain.

If he heals according to Petty's estimated timeline, he'd only miss five races because NASCAR is off this weekend. But among the next five are stops at Martinsville and Richmond, where the Virginia-raised driver has a combined six wins. He also hosts and competes in an annual charity race at RIR.

Joe Gibbs Racing said no decision has been made on a replacement for Hamlin, who is 10th in the Sprint Cup Series standings. But the team has former Cup regulars Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers in its stable in the Nationwide Series, and both will likely get seat time in the No. 11 Toyota.

Vickers is scheduled to drive the Sprint Cup race at Martinsville for Michael Waltrip Racing.

Hamlin was injured when his car hit head-on into an interior wall at Auto Club Speedway after contact with Joey Logano.

Hamlin and Logano have been feuding over the last month, and neither wanted to give an inch as they raced side-by-side on the last lap for the win. Both cars ended up wrecking after the contact.

NASCAR ruled that neither driver was trying to intentionally wreck the other during the battle, and no penalties were issued Tuesday. NASCAR chairman Brian France said earlier Tuesday that while Hamlin's injury was unfortunate, the battle for the win was the kind of throwback racing he expects out of the drivers.

"I have said repeatedly, every minute, that contact, especially late in the race when you are going for a win, that's not only going to happen - that's expected," France said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "Both of them did exactly what I think you would do when you really, really want to win. Getting some contact, trying to race extra hard to win the race, that's what we're about."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the last championship-level driver to sit out, missing two races last season in the middle of the Chase for the Sprint Cup because of concussions. Vickers missed more than half of the 2010 season because of blood clots.

Sterling Marlin, who led the points for 25 weeks in 2002, missed the final seven races of the season with a fractured vertebra in his neck.

The time out of the car could cost Hamlin a spot in the 12-driver Chase field. He has made the Chase every year since entering the Cup Series in 2006.

Although he's 10th in points, he'll fall after missing Martinsville. The top 10 in standings after the 26th race earn a spot in the Chase, and the two winningest drivers not already eligible get the final two berths.

Hamlin does not have a win this season.

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0237web.jpg Hrdlicka, Teter pour ‘heart’ into Zebra soccer program

    For the past four years, Claremore High School seniors Katelin Teter and Nick Hrdlicka have represented the ‘heart and soul’ of the Lady Zebra and Zebra soccer programs.
    The soccer duo will join seven other seniors on Friday night for Homecoming against Collinsville at Lantow Field.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • DSC_0014web.jpg 9 straight for Lady Zebras

    Claremore sophomore forward Bailey Steckline got the ‘hat-trick’ plus one Tuesday night in the Lady Zebras’ 10-0 win over Tulsa Memorial at  LaFortune Stadium.
    Steckline tallied two goals in the first half, and added two more in the second to complete her impressive night.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0156web.jpg Tulsa Memorial holds off Zebras, 2-1

    Tulsa Memorial scored a pair of first-half goals  to steal the momentum away from the Claremore Zebras, as well as the 2-1 win Tuesday night in Metro Lakes Conference action at LaFortune Stadium.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0015web.jpg BASEBALL: Whatley, Howe power Zebras past Tahlequah

    Claremore’s Matt Whatley has proven over the past four years that he’s one of the toughest outs in the Metro Lakes Conference.
    On Tuesday, Whatley went 3-for-4 with two singles and a triple while sparking the Zebras to a 12-2 win over Tahlequah in five innings at American Legion Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Dewey takes pair from Sequoyah

    It’s very difficult to win when you can’t score.
    Class 4A third-ranked Dewey blanked homestanding Sequoyah 7-0 and 2-0 in a district doubleheader on Tuesday, improving to 21-3 with a dominating two-hit pitching performance in the opener and a four-hitter in the nightcap.

    April 18, 2014

  • SOCCER: Sequoyah topples No. 15 Catoosa, 1-0

    Sequoyah boys soccer coach Bob Campbell had one phrase to sum up his feelings following the Eagles’ game with 15th ranked Catoosa at home Tuesday night.
    “We’re in the driver’s seat.’’
    Alex Bourgeois scored late in the first half and Sequoyah made it stand up for a 1-0 victory over the Indians in a showdown for the district lead.

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson sprints Zebras to 1st place at OBU Relays

    Claremore senior sprinter Tyler Jackson felt the need for speed Wednesday afternoon at the Oklahoma Baptist University High School Invitational.
    Jackson notched a pair of first-place victories in the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash to help Claremore earn 130 points for top honors.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Arkansas Tech roughs up ‘Cats

    The Rogers State University baseball team had a disappointing finish in its home finale as No. 12-ranked Arkansas Tech blanked the Hillcats 11-0 Tuesday evening in non-conference action from the Diamond Sports Complex.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Southwest Baptist slips past NSU, 5-3

     The Northeastern State baseball team lost 5-3 to Southwest Baptist Thursday afternoon at Dobson Field.
     
    The RiverHawks (19-22, 15-18 MIAA) held a 3-0 lead early in the contest, but a late rally from the Bearcats (23-18, 19-13 MIAA) and costly errors from the visitors allowed the home team to secure the series-opening triumph.

    April 18, 2014

  • WOMEN'S TENNIS: Conference champion NSU lands top seed in MIAA tourney

    The No. 31-ranked Northeastern State women's tennis team has drawn the top seed in the 2014 MIAA Women's Tennis Championship, the league announced Thursday morning.

    April 18, 2014