Auto racing • Championship contender says he had his "bell rung," but was cleared.
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Kansas City, Kan. • Championship contender Denny Hamlin said he felt dizzy and had his "bell rung" after a hard crash during full-field testing Thursday at Kansas Speedway.
He was going 202 mph over the repaved surface of the 1.5-mile tri-oval when he clipped the rear of his No. 11 Toyota on the wall entering Turn 1. Hamlin's primary car for Sunday's race shot toward the apron and Hamlin over-corrected, sending it into the outside wall.
Hamlin managed to get his car back to the garage area and then walked to the care center. He returned about an hour later for a second series of tests before being cleared to drive.
"It was the first time I really had some dizziness after a hit," said Hamlin, who compared it to a 2008 wreck at Talladega that ended with a trip to the hospital and a mild concussion. "Usually I'm sore or your jaw hurts from clenching your jaw. This is the first time I really got dizzy."
Hamlin, who enters the weekend third in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, said he was encouraged by NASCAR officials to visit the care center after they examined the car and considered the severity of the wreck. It was the first time Hamlin could remember that happening.
"Obviously the severity of it, and the speeds we were running, it was a wise thing to do anyway," Hamlin said. "Just bell-rung, typical hard hit, ring-your-bell kind of thing. You get jarred around, you feel a little out of it at first. Everything came back OK."
Hamlin said that Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s decision to step out of his car in the midst of the Chase after two concussions in a six-week span didn't have any bearing on his decision to visit the care center, but he did acknowledge that driver safety has been pushed to the forefront.