Hamlin to Miss Auto Club 400
By: Dustin Long - @dustinlong on March 23, 2014 | 2:50 P.M. EST
Hamlin was taken to a local hospital to be examined. (Photo: Getty Images)
FONTANA, Calif. - Sam Hornish Jr. will replace Denny Hamlin in today’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway because Hamlin is suffering from a sinus infection that is impacting his vision, J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing announced.
Hamlin was at the driver’s meeting two hours before the race but not at driver introductions. Gibbs said the issued was determined about 30 minutes before the start of the race.
“We’re just praying he has a quick recovery,’’ Gibbs said.
NASCAR stated that Hamlin’s absence would count toward a medical exemption should he need it for Chase eligibility. Hamlin will not score any points because he did not start the race.
To be eligible for the Chase, a driver must have a win and be in the top 30 in points. If the 16 spots are not taken, then those with the highest points totals make the Chase. A medical exemption would allow Hamlin to make the Chase if he had at least a win.
Gibbs said that Hamlin was taken to a local hospital to be examined and hoped Hamlin could return home by Monday. Gibbs said that after being examined at the track, Hamlin was informed he could not race today.
Hamlin raced for the win in this race last year, crashing after a duel with Joey Logano. Hamlin hit an inside wall that caused him to suffer a compression fracture in his lower back and forced him to miss four races.
Hamlin tweeted: "So disappointed that I can't compete today. Sorry to all my fans. Thought we had a car that could win today. Good luck to @SamHornish"