TC Daily Pit Stop: Hamlin Unsure of Clash Status Due to Shoulder Surgery Recovery; Elliott, Allgaier, Deegan Win Most Popular Driver Awards
TC Daily Pit Stop: Friday, December 1st, 2023
Denny Hamlin is unsure of his status for the season-opening Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum on February 4, 2024, after having arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder earlier this month.
The 43-year-old racer, whose right arm remains in a sling eight days post-op, spoke to media members before the NASCAR Awards banquet on Thursday, breaking down how his recovery has unfolded, and his concerns about racing in the pre-season exhibition event.
“It just changes some things and, probably, the first laps on track will be whatever we do in February. Do we need to analyze the Clash? Maybe when the time comes because from what I’ve heard, they don’t want me loading it for three months. Obviously, That timeline does not line up.”
Hamlin said that the injury was a bone spur and tendon damage in his right shoulder, which eventually caused grinding on his rotator cuff, an injury that the Joe Gibbs Racing driver says made a significant impact in the car.
For the sixth consecutive year, Chase Elliott has been named the winner of the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Most Popular Driver Award.
Elliott, the son of 16-time Most Popular Driver Award winner Bill Elliott, had the most difficult season of his young career in 2023, missing seven events – six due to an injury and one due to a suspension – and failing to visit victory lane.
Of note, it’s the 33rd straight season that a driver from either the Elliott or Earnhardt family has captured the award, dating back to 1990, when Darrell Waltrip picked up his second consecutive Most Popular Driver award.
In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Justin Allgaier has claimed a record-matching fourth NMPA Most Popular Driver Award victory, all of which have come in the last five seasons driving the No. 7 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports.
Hailie Deegan has become the second driver to win three consecutive Most Popular Driver Awards in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, taking the award in what will be her final season before graduating to the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2024 with AM Racing.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON TOBYCHRISTIE.COM:
TC Daily Pit Stop is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.