CONCORD, N.C. – A weekend of golf, tennis and 900 miles of racing proved to be too much for Denny Hamlin, who was treated for dehydration after finishing eighth in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Hamlin told his team he wasn’t feeling well with about 65 laps left in the race while leading. His chances of winning faded when he had to pit for a loose wheel, falling a lap down in 17th before moving up as others pitted later in the race.
After the race his team called for medical help to meet Hamlin at his car but Hamlin walked to the infield care center. He spent more than 45 minutes there receiving treatment.
“My off day was 36 holes of golf and a full tennis match,’’ said Hamlin, who followed those Friday activities by finishing second in Saturday’s 300-mile Xfinity race before Sunday’s event. “Probably overdid it a little bit this weekend. The dehydration led to a migraine and I felt nauseous. Thank goodness that didn’t cost us a win.’’
Hamlin received encouragement from his team late in the race but he admits it was not easy inside the car.
“I was on the borderline of throwing up,’’ Hamlin said. “I was trying to race for a lead. You just try to power through it. When you run well, you always feel a little bit better, but when the race is over and everything comes to a stop you realize how bad you feel.’’
Hamlin, who led 53 laps, came in to pit on lap 363 of the 400-lap event for the loose wheel.
“Part of it stunk a little bit, but (Martin Truex Jr. who also pitted) came back and passed us anyway,’’ Hamlin said. “When he came back out, he had fresher air than what I did. I came out kind of middle of the pack. Just couldn’t run the lap times that I needed. Those guys ended up on the bad end of the strategy anyway.’’