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.”

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.