May 2, 2013, 9:04 PM EDT
He’s back. Officially.
Denny Hamlin posted two tweets on Thursday – a simple smiley face for the first, and “Don’t call it a comeback –LL Cool J,” for the second – ahead of official confirmation from NASCAR and doctors that he had been cleared to start at Talladega this weekend.
Earlier in the week, Hamlin projected he’d be back before official clearance, which was needed. He’s been sidelined since Joey Logano and he made contact at Auto Club Speedway at the end of March, with a fractured vertebrae.
Mark Martin (Martinsville) and Brian Vickers (since) have been the replacements in the No. 11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Vickers will be ready on stand-by to take over from Hamlin if and when he’ll exit the car at Talladega; neither Vickers nor Martin will be aboard Michael Waltrip‘s No. 55 Toyota they usually share. That duty falls to Waltrip himself this weekend.
Video from NASCAR America
- NASCAR AMERICA: Assessing Tony Stewart’s return at Atlanta (VIDEO) 0
- Feelin’ free: Frustrations end for Chase-bound Kahne, IndyCar champ Power 1
- Honda preps for first simulations, expresses confidence it can match Mercedes 4
- Kenseth clinches Chase berth; Bowyer falls out of Grid with one race to go 1
- Kasey Kahne rallies in last 2 laps to win at Atlanta, makes Chase 1
- Tony Stewart’s comeback hopes end with rough 41st-place finish at Atlanta 2
- Tony Stewart the obvious fan favorite during pre-race introductions at Atlanta 3