Denny Hamlin has walked away from a horrifying accident at the Watkins Glen International circuit.
Hamlin's throttle appeared to stick wide open as he reached the first corner, sending him full speed into a tire barrier. The nose of his Toyota was mangled, but Hamlin climbed from the car under his own power after several moments.
The crash conjured up memories of two previous frightening accidents at Watkins Glen. In 2000, then-relative unknown Jimmie Johnson lost his brakes entering turn one in a NASCAR Busch Series race, cleared the sand trap that was at the outside of the track at the time and slammed into a styrofoam wall. He climbed on his roof with his arms raised in the air, incredibly unhurt.
In 1991 however, veteran independent racers J.D. McDuffie and Jimmy Means went off course at the track's fifth turn and slammed into a fence. Means suffered a gashed chin, while McDuffie was killed instantly at age 52. That crash along with many others in the corner led to the addition of the backstretch chicane - also known as the inner loop - in 1992.
With less than 20 laps remaining, Hamlin's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch leads Brad Keselowski, Marcos Ambrose, Martin Truex Jr., and Juan Pablo Montoya.