Hamlin gets OK to race, will drive only in Bank of America 500 this weekend

Updated: October 11, 2008, 11:22 AM ET
By Mark Ashenfelter | ESPN.com

Coming off a hard crash Sunday that left him hospitalized overnight, Denny Hamlin will skip Friday night's Nationwide Series race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Although it was determined Hamlin did not suffer a concussion in the crash at Talladega Superspeedway, he was held overnight Sunday at University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital for observation before being released to return home to North Carolina on Monday.

According to a news release from Lowe's Motor Speedway, Hamlin met with NASCAR's consulting physician, Dr. Jerry Petty, and was cleared to race this weekend.

Hamlin is still entered in Saturday night's Bank of America 500 Sprint Cup Series race in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

"It was definitely the hardest hit I have ever taken in a race car. It was good to get home, get some rest and take it easy this week. I am feeling better everyday and look forward to getting back in the car this weekend," Hamlin said in a statement. " ... This sport has made big gains in terms of safety -- everything from the cars to the walls and those are big steps in the right direction."

Hamlin had been scheduled to drive in Friday's Dollar General 300 in Braun Racing's No. 10 Toyota. The car will now by driven by Dave Blaney, who gave Braun Racing its first win in the series in this race in 2006.

Braun Racing also won at Lowe's Motor Speedway this past May, with Kyle Busch driving.

"I'm looking forward to working with the guys at Braun Racing again," Blaney said. "We had some great successes together in the Nationwide Series in 2006 and '07, with the highlight being the win in the Dollar General 300 two years ago. Since then, Braun Racing has added another Lowe's Motor Speedway trophy to their display case and our goal this weekend is to make it a third."

Mark Ashenfelter is an associate editor at ESPN.

• Ashenfelter is an Event News Editor at ESPN.
• Worked at NASCAR Scene for eight years.
• Has covered NASCAR since 1999.

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