When Denny Hamlin Competed for the 2015 Cup Series Championship Despite a Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament


To be at the top of their game, athletes must be in good shape. However, in some of the most extreme cases, a few athletes struggle with their pain. A classic example is MotoGP, where there have been countless numbers of riders who have raced with an injury or two. It turns out that NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin took a page out of his book during the 2015 Cup Series season.

During a friendly basketball game, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver tore his right anterior cruciate ligament. This took place before the Chase for the Sprint Cup. So it was kind of stupid of him to get injured so close to the championship fight. Despite this, he still finished the rest of the season, even winning at Chicagoland Speedway.

May 22, 2022; Fort Worth, TX, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) races during the All-Star race at Texas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer – USA TODAY Sports

A day after being injured, he went to the hospital to have an MRI to confirm the diagnosis. Surprisingly, he was cleared to race but was also advised to undergo surgery after the season.

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Denny Hamlin once raced with an injury

Five years earlier, Hamlin had injured his knee, playing basketball again, you would think he should take a hint. In a surprising step, he opted against surgery to repair his ACL. He didn’t regret the decision as he took the win at Martinsville Speedway.

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In the end though, he finally gave in and went under the knife to fix the ACL. Since then he has continued to race and has never missed a Cup Series start, all year. Later, driver Joe Gibbs Racing took victory at Texas Motor Speedway and won a career-high eight races. Unfortunately, he narrowly missed out on the Cup title to Hendrick Motorsports star Jimmie Johnson at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

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Among other injuries, he broke his back in a 2013 crash with Joey Logano at Auto Club Speedway. Fortunately, it wasn’t serious enough to warrant surgery, although he missed four races. In 2014, he abandoned the race at the Auto Club, because of a piece of metal in the eye. It shows how tough athletes are and how motivated they are to win.

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