Just minutes before the start of the Auto Club 500, it was announced that Denny Hamlin would miss the event due to a sinus infection that he was experiencing.
“We have an issue with Denny Hamlin, I’m sure most of you all know, but he has a sinus infection and it’s affecting his vision, so he won’t be able to start the race today,” Joe Gibbs Racing President J.D. Gibbs said pre-race. “We hate it for him, he’s been so good for us, JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) over the years. We are just praying that he has a quick recovery.”
J.D. Gibbs added that it started on Friday and it sort of grew throughout the weekend.
“It’s not just a headache. It’s a lot more serious than that. He was actually losing vision in his eye,” crew chief Darian Grubb told MRN.com and NASCAR.com after Sunday’s race. “The last I’d heard, his vision was getting worse and the pain was getting worse. It got to where he couldn’t see and was having trouble with the vision in his left eye because of the pressure and everything that was going on. At that point, NASCAR did some testing and he could not follow the finger going by his eyes as he should have been.
“They weren’t going to let him go.”
Hamlin was taken to a local hospital where they did a CT scan and other tests to fully diagnose what was going on. He was released late Sunday night and will be re-evaluated in Charlotte before this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway.
This does not end Hamlin’s Chase chances as if he is in a qualifying spot come September, he will receive a “medical exemption” for missing the race.