Sporting the new high-drag configuration for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Denny Hamlin punched a big hole in the air in posting the top speed in opening practice.
On Friday at the Brickyard, the air decided to punch back.
As Hamlin was running his first lap in the second of three practice sessions at the famed 2.5-mile track, the site of Sunday's Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at The Brickyard (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN), the hood of his No. 11 Toyota flew up and back, crashing into the windshield and breaking into pieces.
Hamlin drove his wounded car to the garage, where crew chief Dave Rogers and the No. 11 team repaired the hood in time for Hamlin to return to the track less than an hour into the session.
Hamlin speculated that the hood was inadvertently left unpinned, but he wasn’t certain about the cause of the mishap.
“(The hood pins) were probably hanging, I would say,” Hamlin said. “It wasn’t on TV, so I’m just assuming they were probably out. You know the speeds we were going, when that hood comes up, it just disintegrates and blows. The good thing is it didn’t all stay together. The hood blew apart so much that I had a gap there I could see.”
Hamlin also was worried about other potential damage to the car.
“The roof is what we’re most concerned about,” Hamlin said. "It blew the roof apart a lot and did some damage inside the car. It’s just a lot of force there that tears up a lot of stuff anytime the hood comes up.”
The incident didn’t slow Hamlin’s car appreciably.
After topping the speed chart at 182.208 mph in the opening practice, Hamlin was 12th quickest after returning to the track in second session, running 179.968 mph in warmer temperatures.