Found March 25, 2013 on Fox Sports:
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Denny Hamlin walked out of a California hospital Monday night, more than 29 hours after enduring a horrific crash at nearby Auto Club Speedway that left him with a compressed fracture in his lower back. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was ready to fly home to North Carolina, saying that he was feeling "as I can be at the moment - definitely better than I was yesterday for sure." Hamlin admitted that the pain he was feeling was something new to him. "I never felt this before," he said. "Really, my first reaction is I felt something pop in my back and that's why I was really trying to get out of the car as soon as I could because the position I was in ... I couldn't breathe at all. Still having a hard time breathing. When I felt it pop, I couldn't move at all and I knew I had to get flat to my back to be able to breathe again - so that's why I rushed out and then just lay flat on the ground to try to start breathing at that point." Hamlin's accident started when he was racing Joey Logano for the lead on the final lap of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race. The two made contact and Hamlin's car slammed into the wall. The driver initially climbed from his car then collapsed onto the track. He was airlifted to a local hospital and spent the night there. After having issues with a bulging disc in his back before Hamlin knew right away that something was wrong. "I knew it wasn't good because I'd been through so much back stuff before that I know when something is really, really wrong," he said. "And that was a moment that took two seconds and I knew I was in big trouble." Hamlin long a proponent of SAFER barriers at the track, hit an area of the track not protected by those walls. The impact was so hard his car actually left the ground. Hamlin says he expects that area will be covered in the future - a lesson others will take from his crash. "Yeah - we just find every hole that there is," he said of crashes where the barriers are not placed. "There's just no safe place that a SAFER barrier shouldn't be. I know that there's protocol between NASCAR and the tracks to distinguish where SAFER barriers should be because they do cost a lot of money and they cost the tracks a lot. But I'm sure when we go back (to Auto Club Speedway) they'll be (a SAFER barrier) there. It's unfortunate it takes wrecks here and like what we saw (with Jeff Gordon and Sam Hornish Jr.) at Watkins Glen for them to refigure these tracks into where they need to be safety wise."
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