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Denny Hamlin injured his lower back in a wreck with Joey Logano on the last lap at Fontana on Sunday. He will miss his charity race.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Denny Hamlin has targeted the April 27 race at his home track in Richmond for his potential return from a back injury.
Time will tell if Hamlin will run in that Sprint Cup race. But he does know he can't do the Short Track Showdown, his annual charity race held two days before the Cup event.
Hamlin has tabbed Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Matt Kenseth to replace him in the Showdown, which benefits the Denny Hamlin Cystic Fibrosis Research Lab at the Children's Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University.
"Obviously, it kills me to not be able to race in the Short Track Showdown," Hamlin said. "I grew up racing these cars against some of the best in the area, and it's always fun to come back and do it again. But my injury won't allow that this year."
Hamlin suffered a compression fracture of a vertebra in his lower back in a last-lap wreck at California on March 24. Doctors said he'll miss at least five races, but Hamlin is trying to come back early in time to race at Richmond, where he's a two-time winner.
But he loves his charity race, which is filled with top drivers such as three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart and locals including C.E. Faulk. Now the field will include Kenseth, a two-time Daytona 500 winner and 2003 NASCAR champion.
"Matt has been a great teammate since coming to Joe Gibbs Racing, and I have to thank him for stepping in for me in this race," Hamlin said. "There's a great list of drivers in this year's field, and I know they'll put on an awesome show for the fans at RIR."
Pit crew competition
NASCAR's annual Pit Crew Competition has been canceled this year because no title sponsor was found.
The event showcased the pit crews and was a staple of NASCAR's All-Star weekend the past eight years. Sprint had most recently been the title sponsor of the event, which had both individual and team competitions.
Jarrett, Bruton Smith headline new Hall nominees
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - NASCAR champion Dale Jarrett headlined the 25 nominees announced Wednesday for next year's Hall of Fame class - a list that finally includes track magnate Bruton Smith.
Only five nominees are new to the list, with the other 20 carrying over from last year. Joining Jarrett and Smith as the new nominees were engine builder Maurice Petty, five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion Larry Phillips and 1960 NASCAR champion Rex White. Five people will be selected for induction into the fifth Hall of Fame Class in May 22 voting by a 54-member panel.
H. Clay Earles, the founder of Martinsville Speedway, is up for consideration. The late driver Curtis Turner is also a nominee.
He was born in Floyd and was a long-time Roanoke resident.
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