Denny Hamlin, Joe Gibbs Racing
Fri, 10 May 2013 16:02:40 -0700
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin (back) plans to run the entire Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway Saturday, May 11, after running 23 laps at Talladega Superspeedway before giving way to backup driver Brian Vickers. "I don't think there's any doubt we'll go the whole way," said Hamlin, who tested himself by running 90 consecutive minutes during a long first practice Friday, May 10. "Nothing was uncomfortable, nothing hurt, nothing was sore. So I'm pretty confident I can make it the three, three and a half (hours) that it's going to take to run the race." Hamlin also plans to run in the non-points All-Star race next weekend, even though the race doesn't count toward championship seeding.
Fantasy Tip: Hamlin has had past success at Darlington, which makes it very tempting to rely on him this weekend, even though it is expected to be his first full race back since suffering a major back injury. If you're in a position to play it safe, though, you may want to look elsewhere.
Tue, 30 Apr 2013 10:35:22 -0700
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin (back) is planning on starting the Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend for his first race since suffering a compression fracture in his lower back March 24 at Auto Club Speedway. Hamlin has been cleared "just to start" this weekend, meaning he will drop back to the back of the pack and ride around until the first caution and then give way to driver Brian Vickers. He will collect all the points for whatever place Vickers earns just by starting the race. Hamlin is currently 71 points outside the top 20 in points. Hamlin will have another scan on his spine next week and must be cleared to drive at Darlington before making a full return. He will consider having surgery in the offseason to fix his injury and other back problems he's had over the years.
Fantasy Tip: Obviously, this weekend is not the time to start Hamlin on your fantasy team. Next weekend probably isn't, either, if he gets full clearance to race. It's safer to hold off and make sure he's completely healthy and at top form before throwing him back into your lineup.
Thu, 25 Apr 2013 09:10:48 -0700
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin (back) will not return to the Sprint Cup Series this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. He has missed the last three races with a compression fracture in his lower back. Hamlin likely will start next weekend's race at Talladega Superspeedway, though. However, he'll give way to a backup driver after the first caution to allow him to collect points.
Fantasy Tip: If you had Hamlin in your lineup for this weekend already, remove him now. It's probably not wise to count on him for a race until after he's come back and demonstrated that he's completely healthy and capable of staying in a race car for an entire race.
Mon, 22 Apr 2013 09:51:23 -0700
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin (back) said there is a 50-50 chance he will return to the Sprint Cup Series this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. He's almost 100 percent sure he'll start the May 5 race at Talladega Superspeedway. Hamlin will undergo a follow-up exam on his fractured back Tuesday, April 23, or Wednesday, April 24, and if the exam shows bone growth, he will return at Richmond if doctors give him clearance. He won't have another scan for two weeks after this week's scan. Hamlin said there is no consideration to him starting a race and then putting in a backup driver at Richmond because he'd lose at least two laps making the exchange. He's been off pain medication for a week and a half now. Hamlin is now 25th in points heading into this weekend's race at Richmond.
Fantasy Tip: If Hamlin returns this week, it probably wouldn't be wise to throw him into your starting lineup immediately. We'd be more comfortable seeing how he fares for a few races before considering him again. Be patient with this situation, since there are plenty of other drivers worth considering over Hamlin until we know he's fully healthy and challenging for wins again.
Thu, 04 Apr 2013 09:28:54 -0700
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin (back) is expecting his body to do "superhuman things" and heal the compression fracture in his back in under the projected six-week timetable. Hamlin is eyeing a return as soon as three weeks at Richmond International Raceway, but he knows he also must be patient and not rush back. "Since I already have my spine broken up into two pieces, if you get in another wreck, those pieces will then shatter and get into your spinal cord and you have paralysis issues," Hamlin explained. He won't have a clearer picture of his progress for another few weeks when doctors take a scan of his back.
Fantasy Tip: Hamlin is probably just being competitive and unrealistically optimistic here, so don't get your hopes up that he'll return in just three weeks. Without Hamlin to choose from for your fantasy lineup, though, there are plenty of other solid options on a weekly basis.
Mon, 01 Apr 2013 10:44:01 -0700
Mark Waltrip Racing driver Mark Martin will replace Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin (back) for the race at Martinsville, then Brian Vickers will take over the remaining races Hamlin misses. Vickers is scheduled to make his first start in the No. 11 car at Texas Motor Speedway. Hamlin likely will return for the May 11 race at Darlington but could also return for the May 4 race at Talladega.
Fri, 29 Mar 2013 18:52:44 -0700
Fri, 29 Mar 2013 18:52:10 -0700
The deal between Joe Gibbs Racing and Mark Martin fell through Friday, March 29, as Michael Waltrip Racing has given Martin the OK to race April 7 for JGR at Martinsville Speedway only. "It was previously released that Mark Martin would handle the duties behind the wheel for the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team while Denny Hamlin recovered from injury," JGR said in a press release Friday, March 29. "Martin will drive the car in Martinsville, but (Brian Vickers) will now take over the duties beginning in Texas."
Fri, 29 Mar 2013 09:34:43 -0700
Joe Gibbs Racing announced Friday, March 29, that driver Mark Martin will fill in for driver Denny Hamlin (back) in the No. 11 Sprint Cup car while Hamlin recovers from his injury. Martin's first race in the car will come next weekend April 7 at Martinsville Speedway. Martin will be replaced in the No. 55 car for Michael Waltrip Racing in the Cup Series with driver Brian Vickers, who is already running nine races in the No. 55 this year. Hamlin is expected to miss five races. Martin has two wins, 12 top-fives and 25 top-10s in 48 career starts at Martinsville. He has an average finish of 13.3 at the track.
Thu, 28 Mar 2013 16:12:18 -0700
Joe Gibbs Racing announced Thursday, March 28, that driver Mark Martin could replace driver Denny Hamlin (back) while he recovers from a back injury. The team is considering having Martin drive in all five races in the No. 11 car while Hamlin is sidelined. Driver Brian Vickers would pick up Martin's schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing and the No. 55 car that would include races at Texas, Kansas and Richmond. Vickers could also race for Hamlin for four races after next week at Martinsville, where he's scheduled to drive the No. 55 for Martin. Driver Elliott Sadler could also drive for Hamlin the entire time, although that is the least likely option.
Fantasy Tip: Martin and Vickers are not strong fantasy options on a weekly basis, but they might be useful as a No. 4 driver depending on the particular track that week.
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