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Hamlin suffers spinal compression fracture

NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp confirmed that the accident would be reviewed to see if there needed to be changes made to Auto Club Speedway in light of what happened. Track president Gillian Zucker said that there had not been any previous recommendations from NASCAR to implement SAFER barrier technology along the part of the inside wall where Hamlin hit on Sunday.

"When [SAFER] barriers first came we certainly didn't put them all around the facility, then NASCAR made recommendations and we added more here and more here," she told ESPN.com on Monday.

The cost of SAFER barrier technology is said to be $500 per square foot, with Fontana spending an estimated $6 million to introduce the system to the entirety of the outside wall. The system also has a relatively short lifespan compared with concrete walls, and needs regular upgrades and replacements to maintain its effectiveness all of which adds to the ongoing operating expense.

However, its effectiveness in preventing serious injuries has been proven on an almost weekly basis in US oval racing, and exceptional cases such as Hamlin's only underline the consequences of not having SAFER barriers everywhere they're needed.

"Anytime that NASCAR makes any recommendation that they feel will reduce injuries or the threat to injuries, we will always implement that," confirmed Zucker.

"I'm sure when we go back there will be one there," said Hamlin on Monday evening. "It's just unfortunate it takes wrecks like here and what we saw at Watkins Glen for them to kind of reconfigure these tracks where they need to be safety-wise."



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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, walks down pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 15, 2013 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, stands on the grid after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2013 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota,comes to rest on pit road after a collision with Joey Logano (not pictured), driver of the #22 AAA Southern California Ford, during the final lap of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 24, 2013 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Sun Energy 1 Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Lakes Region 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 18, 2015 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #20 Sun Energy 1 Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Lakes Region 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 18, 2015 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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lynn - Unregistered

March 27, 2013 2:58 PM

I have never been a fan of Hamlins but not because he isn't a good driver but because he is a big crybaby but I never wish any driver to get hurt. Dislike of a driver on the track is not a personal thing but just a racing thing. I wish Hamlin a speedy recovery and hope everything comes out well for his return. As for the comment that his championship hopes hangs in the balance, they will not happen at all this year, no driver can recover from a 6 race points loss. He would have to make up 258 points plus what it would take to move in front of the top 12 in the chase. I would say there is a 99% chance this won't happen. Hope for a speedy and complete recovery for Hamlin



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