Happy Easter!!!! Welcome Gabbers and others to my NASCAR update and other fast stuff. That grumpy kitty probably didn't get any marshmallow peeps, a mousie squeaker toy or chocolate bunnies in it's Easter basket. Maybe kitty is a Denny Hamlin fan and just found out he won't be driving for the next 6 races at the very least. Yeah. That's probably it. I'm sure there's a smartass among you that could think of a good caption.
Look. Denny has that same look on his face as grumpy kitty. Denny tweeted this photo. He got out of the hospital on Monday after his really ugly wreck on Sunday at Fontana. Late in the race Logano had snagged the lead from Kyle with 7 to go but Hamlin was right behind in hot pursuit. On the last lap Hamlin pulls up beside Logano and the beatin' & bangin' & slammin' door numbers begins. Coming around the last turn Kyle catches up to and passes the duo still fighting it out. Kyle wins the race, Logano hits and rides the outside wall and Hamlin hits nose first into the inside wall at the entrance to pit road right where there's no safer barrier. The car hit so hard it jumped off the ground.
Hamlin got out on his own but immediately lay down on his back. He was strapped fast to a back board and off he went. Due to traffic after the race he was air lifted to the hospital. It was determined that he fractured his L1 vertebra. He was to stay out of the car at least 6 weeks. Doctors orders.
JGR hasn't had to deal with an issue like this in the 22 years he's had a team. Other than a driver losing his contract because somebody better came along or death, this just hasn't happened in racing in the modern era all that much. Most drivers work through their injuries.
Dale Earnhardt Sr wrecked at Talladega in 1996 so badly he broke his collarbone and dislocated his sternum. Breathing was damn near impossible due to the pain and he couldn't lift his left arm but he got in his car for the brickyard at Indianapolis the following week. He did 6 laps and then pitted to let Mike Skinner take over. Not because of the pain he said. It was so he wouldn't injure himself further. Then at Watkins Glen which is a road course he refused to stay out of the car despite his boss Richard Childress, wife Theresa and Dr Jerry Punch trying to persuade him to let Mike drive. He got in and drove sometimes using his knees and just one hand to steer. He came in 6th that day.
Rusty Wallace had 2 big super speedway wrecks in 1993. Daytona and Talladega. The cars were obliterated and he broke his wrist but he kept driving all year.
And then there's Ricky Rudd. In the 1984 Busch Clash he wrecked so hard his face was swollen and they had to tape his eyes open so he could race in the Daytona 500 the next day. I think he came in 7th. Ricky had refused to be treated after the wreck so NASCAR didn't know how bad he was. After they found out it was a mandatory visit to the incare field center and a mandatory ride there after any wreck where you can't drive back to pit road. If you go to YouTube and look up this wreck you'll see just how truly violent it really was and just how close he came to that wall and his possible death.
Last year at Michigan Mark Martin impaled his car on the end of the pit road wall at the opening to get back to the garages. Another 6 to 8 inches toward the door number and I think he'd be gone. Who'd have thought a car would hit there? He also wrecked big at Talladega in 1994. He lost his breaks after contact on the track. Drove into a wall, then through a guard rail, a chain link fence and then into another guard rail. He got out but you could tell he was hurting.
So even though NASCAR has become super vigilant on safety through all these wrecks and more I didn't write about there is still more to be done. Safety is a moving target. There for awhile the drivers were taking turns finding the spots with no safer barriers. Gordon found a couple. Ideally no wall at a NASCAR track should be without a safer barrier. I'm betting there will be one right where Hamlin hit at Fontana for the next time they come back there.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the safer barrier and how it's constructed.....You have your concrete wall then they have a steel tube wall made that sits about 2 to 3 feet away. They fill the in between space with styro foam pieces. It absorbs the impact better that just hitting the concrete wall that doesn't move at all.
In the mean time, lets talk replacement drivers for the #11 according to rumor. The choices were Brian Vickers, Mark Martin, Elliot Sadler, AJ Allmendinger and Michael McDowell. All drivers have obligations or conflicts of some sort. By Thursday JGR had announced that Mark Martin would be the man to drive all 6 races starting in Martinsville next week BUT Saturday it was announced that Martin would only drive at Martinsville in the #11 because the #55 sponsor Aaron's was not happy about the arrangement. JGR only wanted to not have a revolving door in the #11 driver seat.
It would seem that Brian Vickers who will drive the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine at Martinsville as per his previous commitment to do so will be in the #11 for the next 5 races. I'm happy. I was afraid they'd choose Elliot Sadler. He's driving for JGR in the Nationwide Series because he can't cut it in Sprint Cup. He came in 2nd in the points last year but success in the Nationwide Series does not equate to success in the Sprint Cup Series. If you've followed Mr Stenhouse Jr who won back to back titles in Nationwide, I would say his average is about what his car number is...17. Good but not great. Don't get me wrong, I believe he will improve but the older guys are not easy to race with. He will have to earn a spot.
So the old guy is still in demand. My stomach would look like that if I could stay away from chocolate.......which reminds me, HAPPY EASTER!!!!!!
So Logano said some crappy things after the race. He says he didn't know Hamlin was injured when he said that Hamlin deserved what he gets. Since then Penske racing has reached out to JGR to smooth things over. Logano and Hamlin supposedly texted one another but according to Hamlin it did not go so well.
On Twitter a fan asked Keselowski what he thought of the Coca Cola Family now. He said," Now they sound like a real family." That was in reference to the commercial where Tony Stewart drives Danica, Newman, Logano, Hamlin and Biffle around the track while they drink coke. I thought it was funny.
There's no race this week so for all of you needing my fantasy advise, you'll have to tune in next week. Even if you don't you should tune in any way. I like the company. So for right now, it's Easter Sunday. It's family time. I'm sure most of you have a dinner date with the family and or friends. I will be doing my usual Sunday breakfast with my grandkids SANS THE CANDY. Don't need to be peeling the kids off the ceiling fans at the diner if you know what I mean. Everyone, Gabbers others and everyone in between have a great wonderful safe and Happy Easter and.....
I'm outta here.......