Denny Hamlin is no different than any other racer when he mentions how painful it was for somebody else to drive his car. After injuring his back in March during a last-lap crash at Auto Club Speedway, Hamlin had to endure that very situation and watch both Mark Martin and Brian Vickers race his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota while he recovered.
But Hamlin made sure to get something positive out of the trying experience.
“I came to the race track on the race weekend just like I would if I was driving and observe other guys and see what I can do make myself a better race car driver,” Hamlin told Michelle Beadle on NBC Sports Network’s “The Crossover” from Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I think coming out of this injury, I’m gonna be better than I was leading into it because of all the information I’ve gathered while sitting on the sidelines. Even though it’s [been] tough, I’ve also learned a lot of things.”
Hamlin has been impressive in his return to competition so far. In his first full race since the injury, he notched a runner-up finish at Darlington Raceway and on Thursday, he set a new CMS qualifying record en route to winning the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night. It certainly appears that he’s putting all that he’s learned to good use.
To hear more on Hamlin’s resurgence, watch the video above and remember to check out “The Crossover” every weeknight at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.