Race Weekend Central

Bad Back Sidelines Denny Hamlin for Sprint Cup Practice, Nationwide Race

Denny Hamlin did not participate in NASCAR Sprint Cup practice Thursday afternoon (July 5) at Daytona due a bad back. Hamlin’s car was driven by Joe Gibbs racing teammate Joey Logano, who split time between his No. 20 and Hamlin’s No. 11 in the two practices.

According to a report by AOL Sporting News’ Bob Pockrass, Hamlin has also opted out of running tonight’s Nationwide Series Subway Jalapeno 250. Hamlin had been slated to drive the No. 18 car in the Nationwide race, however Logano will now take that seat and Clint Bowyer will drive the No. 20.

In an Associated Press report, Hamlin said he woke up with sore back earlier this week and thought it was “in the best interest of the team to sit it out.” He also said he believed the injury was nothing serious.

Hamlin, however, must qualify his Sprint Cup car tonight to be eligible for Saturday’s race, and he must at least start Saturday’s race to be eligible for the driver’s points. As of Thursday afternoon, team officials did not anticipate needing a backup driver for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400.

Hamlin is currently fifth in the points standings with two victories this year. He’s coming off a solid third-place finish last weekend at Kentucky.

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