A Gift Wrapped Win For Busch; Hamlin Airlifted to Hospital
By: Billy Tewes
In order to take home the trophy for the Auto Club 400, drivers had to survive a twelve lap dash to the finish. Kyle Busch and Joey Logano battled for six of the final twelve laps, until Denny Hamlin challenged the two for the lead with six to go.
What would happen next could not be scripted by the best of writers. With five to go, Joey Logano in the #22 AAA Fusion would be nose to tail with Denny Hamlin’s #11 Fed Ex Camry as both drivers passed race leader Kyle Busch. Denny Hamlin had four fresh tires whereas Joey Logano only took two right side tires. This is signficant because generally speaking four tires grip the track better than two and Hamlin was able to catch the leaders at a much quicker pace. The two battled it out until the final lap where things got really crazy really quick!
Entering turn four, Joey Logano drove the low lane and slid up into Denny Hamlin in the top lane with both losing control of their cars. Logano hit the top wall and continued on to finish 3rd, while Hamlin spun down the track and hit the infield wall head on. Kyle Busch was stalking the two and just managed to sneak by before they wrecked and won the race.
Denny Hamlin would have to be airlifted to the hospital after his hard hit. Hamlin got out of his car at first, but collapsed shortly after while being attended to by the infield medical crew. Hamlin was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure and appears he will be ok.
The intensity of this race escalated with the final restart being the key to the mayhem. Joey Logano was wrecked last week by Denny Hamlin at Bristol and vowed he would pay him back.
Joey Logano’s post-race quote does not help his cause, but I think what he said will be taken out of context. Here is the quote:
”He probably shouldn’t have done what he did last week, so that’s what he gets,”
That definitely sounds like someone seeking payback, but hang on a second. I have always believed that people say things they do not mean in the heat of the moment. Logano had a microphone shoved in his face within minutes of the incident and was still upset about losing the race and wrecking his car.
The incident itself was not payback; however it will certainly be misconstrued as Logano intentionally trying to wreck Hamlin. For starters, drivers top 200 MPH entering the turns at California and it is very dangerous to intentionally wreck someone here. Also, Logano and Hamlin were racing for the win and Logano slid into Hamlin and wrecked both of them. If he really wanted to intentionally wreck Hamlin, he would have done it in a way that would have only wrecked Hamlin’s car and not himself in the process.
This race ended in such a crazy fashion that it aboslutely overshadowed Kyle Busch’s dominating performance. Kyle Busch led all but 75 of the 200 laps at California. When all is said and done, this race proved that drivers weren’t afraid to race side by side with each other. This race was hands down an instant classic and one of the best at California, which is generally a snooze fest. The generation six car is becoming extremely competitive and there have been some fantastic finishes so far.
Nascar is off next weekend so look forward to my extremely pre mature review of the first six races of the season.
Kyle Busch Celebrates His 25th Career Sprint Cup Win at California Motor Speedway