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Denny Hamlin OUT of today’s Auto Club 400; Sam Hornish Jr. to fill in

Mar 23, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT

Quaker State 400 - Practice Getty Images

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin will not compete in today’s Auto Club 400 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Auto Club Speedway.

According to reports from ACS, JGR president J.D. Gibbs has confirmed that Hamlin’s developed a sinus infection that is impairing his vision. As a result, he will not drive the No. 11 FedEx Toyota in today’s race.

Former Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish Jr., who finished runner-up in last year’s Nationwide Series championship to Austin Dillon, will replace Hamlin in the No. 11.

Hornish was in Fontana already as a standby driver for Matt Kenseth, who along with wife Katie are awaiting the birth of their third child.

USA Today reporter and NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan has more:

Additionally, Motor Racing Network’s Dustin Long passes along word from NASCAR that Hamlin’s issue will count as a medical exemption for Chase consideration. However, he will not receive any points from today’s race since he’s not able to start it.

Hamlin sustained a back injury in a final-lap crash last year at ACS that caused him to miss four full races. So far this season, he has earned one Top-5 and two Top-10s, including a sixth-place finish last week at Bristol from the pole position.

As the race began, Hamlin tweeted the following:

Video from NASCAR America

Pressure mounts with 4 races remaining
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