Denny Hamlin ready to leave Watkins Glen for birth of his child
Denny Hamlin, the defending winner of the NASCAR Cup race at Watkins Glen International, is ready to skip Sunday's race if necessary.
He would have a good excuse — Hamlin's girlfriend, Jordan Fish, is due to give birth Thursday. Hamlin said Saturday he would leave if she goes into labor.
"Short of it (labor) being in the pace laps, then I would try to run one lap and then come in, but any other time I just go right away," Hamlin said Saturday.
However, a NASCAR rule requires drivers to compete in every race to be eligible for the playoffs. According to ESPN, Hamlin has not asked NASCAR if he can miss the race, but he assumes the sanctioning body would grant him a waiver, as it has done for other drivers who have missed races due to injury or other reasons.
Regan Smith is ready to fill in for Hamlin in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
Hamlin and Fish have a 4-year-old daughter together.