Last weekend was a very strange one for Denny Hamlin. The driver of the No. 11 machine missed the Auto Club 400 from Auto Club Speedway because of what was believed to have been a severe sinus infection. The sinus infection was causing pressure around his eyes which was leading to impaired vision and as a result he wasn’t cleared to run the race.
Earlier this week reports came out that offered a little more clarity on the situation. According to a press release from Joe Gibbs Racing, Hamlin’s issue was not a sinus infection. Instead, Hamlin had a small piece of metal in his eye. When doctors discovered the small piece of metal they immediately removed it and the pressure and vision problems were helped almost immediately. After another followup visit Hamlin was cleared to race in Martinsville.
Even though Hamlin missed the race last week, his hopes for a NASCAR Championship in 2014 are still alive and well. Thanks to the new rules in 2014 Hamlin was able to receive a special injury consideration from NASCAR. As a result of this if Hamlin is able to win a race before the start of the chase, he will still qualify for NASCAR’s post-season.
Last season Hamlin suffered a back injury during a wreck that caused him to miss several weeks of action. The injury put Hamlin into a hole that he was never able to recover from and he wasn’t able to make the 2013 chase. Luckily for Hamlin this isn’t last season and his hopes for making the chase this year are still intact.
Martinsville is a place that Hamlin has found success at in the past. Hamlin is one of only four active drivers with multiple wins at the track. A win for Hamlin on Sunday would not only put him in the chase but it would also mark the sixth consecutive race in which a different driver has gone to Victory Lane this season.