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CUP: Hamlin Cleared To Race

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Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin has received medical clearance to return to on-track activity beginning with this weekend's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, the team announced Thursday night.

Hamlin fractured his lower back in a crash at Auto Club Speedway in California in March. He has missed four races.

Brian Vickers and Mark Martin have filled in for Hamlin in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota during his recovery.

Although the team has not revealed final plans for this weekend, Vickers is scheduled to be standing by for Hamlin. Hamlin might start Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 and be replaced by Vickers during a pit stop.

Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 31 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.