Denny Hamlin cleared to return at Talladega

TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Denny Hamlin received medical clearance Thursday to return this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

Hamlin has missed four races after sustaining a compression fracture of a vertebra in his lower back in a last-lap accident at California on March 24.

“Don’t call it a comeback — LL cool J,” Hamlin tweeted.

Joe Gibbs Racing said exact plans will be determined at the track. Hamlin could start the No. 11 Toyota, then give way to a relief driver.

“Welcome back Denny!” NASCAR tweeted.

Mark Martin took Hamlin’s place in the No. 11 car at Martinsville, and Brian Vickers drove at Texas, Kansas and Richmond.

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