By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
Moments after the black and red flags waved to signal the end of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series final practice, Denny Hamlin had a tremendous accident in turn four.
A flat right front tire sent the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry straight into the outside wall in turn four at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Joe Gibbs Racing machine burst into flames and it continued unabated down the frontstretch. Hamlin’s car slowed to a stop at the entrance of pit road.
Fellow Cup Series drivers Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman slowed to a stop. Keselowski waved his hand out the window as he signaled for others behind him to stop. Hamlin finally hopped out, uninjured, as thick black smoke billowed from the destroyed Toyota Camry.
Hamlin admitted that the big incident grabbed his attention.
“It was big for sure. It was the last corner and I think the red flag had been out for a minute or so. We had just got into turn one when the red went out and we were going to finish our lap. It just blew a right-front. We hadn’t seen any wear issues so we might have run something over or whatever. Definitely got my attention.”
The Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard will be just the second time in 2019 in which Hamlin will utilize a back-up car. He last used a back-up car New Hampshire Motor Speedway after an incident in practice.
Hamlin explained that there was nothing he could have done to prevent the incident.
“Especially with it being in the short chute there. Definitely unexpected as I turned into turn four right there. The good news is that I think our backup is an okay car. We’ll go to work and come from the back, again and see if we can’t win another one.”
In the first practice, the Daytona 500 winner was 11th fastest. Prior to the incident at the end of the second practice, Hamlin was 15th on the speed charts.
He was able to climb out from his car under his own power. pic.twitter.com/YF7wxgxBaR
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 7, 2019