Denny Hamlin sports a shiner during Darlington presser

During a Friday question-and-answer session with reporters at Darlington Raceway, Denny Hamlin highlighted the grueling nature of the Bojangles’ Southern 500.

“I’ve fainted in the shower I think twice after this race, just because you just get so dehydrated,” Hamlin said. “I’ve run the Xfinity race on Saturday for the last handful of years, so it really drains you after the Southern 500.

“You’ve got to prepare for that. I’ll tell you, it’s definitely one of the most physical race tracks that I can think of. Way more than the Coke 600 or any other race track. I consider this the endurance test of all, and so you got to have it all put together.”

Two days before the Bojangles’ Southern 500, Hamlin already looked the worse for wear—as if he’d just gone 10 rounds with Manny Pacquiao. Hamlin’s left check was swollen, and there was a mouse under his left eye.

The injury, however, wasn’t the result of fisticuffs. Hamlin’s penchant for pick-up basketball was the culprit.

“My depth perception to someone’s elbow wasn’t very good in basketball,” said Hamlin, the defending winner of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington. “I caught an elbow.”

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