Denny Hamlin has been medically cleared to race in Sunday’s STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, according to an announcement from Joe Gibbs Racing on Wednesday. Hamlin missed the March 23 race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., because of blurry vision, thought to be the result of a sinus infection. Sam Hornish filled-in behind the wheel of the No. 11 car, normally driven by Hamlin, in Fontana and posted a 17th-place finish.
Meanwhile, Hamlin was taken to a Fontana area hospital where a small sliver of metal was found in his eye. A CT Scan was also taken, and doctors determined that the metal was actually the cause of Hamlin’s vision problem, not the sinus infection. Upon returning home to the Charlotte area, Hamlin was examined on Monday and then, again, on Wednesday. It was after Wednesday’s examination that he was given clearance to race this weekend.
Hamlin, a Chesterfield, Va., native, is a four-time winner at the Virginia short track. His most recent win there in Oct. 2010 was the third of three-consecutive wins there. He missed the first of two yearly Martinsville races in 2013 after suffering a back injury the week prior at Auto Club Speedway. When the Sprint Cup Series returned to Martinsville in Oct. 2013, Hamlin finished seventh. His average Martinsville finish is 8.3.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAr