Commentary

Banged-up Hamlin just happy to be back in the No. 11 Camry

Denny Hamlin is "feeling pretty good" and raring to go after crashing hard Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, he writes in his diary.

Updated: October 11, 2008, 12:36 PM ET
By Denny Hamlin

Thanks to all of those who shared their concern over the past week. I am happy to report that I am feeling pretty good after the wreck at Talladega last weekend, and I'm happy to be here at Lowe's Motor Speedway and I'm ready to race again this weekend.

I am feeling a little better every day, and I really didn't think about sitting this weekend's Cup race out. I don't think I could stand sitting it out and watching someone else in the No. 11 FedEx Camry even if I did feel really bad. Most important, I feel physically fine so it was never really a question. I was planning on running the Nationwide race as well, but my friends over at Braun Racing said it wasn't a big deal for them if I wanted to pull out of the race, so I made the decision to take advantage of that extra rest and try to feel even better for Saturday night

I was definitely sore on Monday morning. You take a hit like that and everything is sore. Your arms and legs, things that can move around the car pretty good, are the things that are the sorest. The doctors were concerned about my head and if I hit it during the wreck, so they were extra careful and ran some tests. But everything came back fine. I owe a big "thank you" to all of the medical staff at Talladega, to the staff at University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) hospital, to Dr. Petty here in Charlotte and to all of the NASCAR medical staff. They took good care of me and were constantly checking in and making sure I was doing OK.

It's amazing to think about how hard that hit was last week. I was running the bottom when the tire went and I crossed three lanes, from the bottom of the track all the way to the top and into the wall. I had maybe a second to react, and all I could do was get on the brake and hold on tight. The car held up really well, and I have a definite appreciation for the SAFER barriers. NASCAR is making big gains in terms of safety and it's really paying off. This new car is much safer than the previous car, and I think anything you can do to make this sport safer is a step in the right direction.

So, we're here at Charlotte and we were rained out again on Friday so we'll line up by points on Saturday. We've had some struggles in qualifying so starting 12th isn't bad, but we would have liked the chance to see what this No. 11 FedEx Camry could do. We have two practices and that will be our only chance to see what we have, and how we can make it better.

Lowe's is a fast track that usually gives us good, close racing. We've definitely had some bad luck here on our last two visits. At the 600 this summer we had a flat on the last lap and had to pit. Last fall we had transmission trouble and had to run the last 12 laps in fourth gear, and that costs us 15 spots. We know we can run well here and our intermediate package is getting better all of the time. We see this weekend as a big opportunity, and I am just happy to be back in the car.

Denny Hamlin drives the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry. He shares his weekly thoughts on and off the track with ESPN.com readers with the help of writer Angelique S. Chengelis.

ALSO SEE