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Kenseth on pole for Daytona Coke Zero 400

Hamlin explained that he's suffered from inherited back problems involving torn and bulging disks in his vertebra for years and that the pounding he'd taken at the bumpy Kentucky Speedway last weekend had sparked off another attack. He hadn't realised how serious it was until he went to dinner after the race - and couldn't stand up again. Although his condition has eased since that scare, Hamlin decided not to push things ahead of this weekend's Cup race.

"Basically any other race track, I'd be on track at this point," he insisted. "But I've made such decent to good progress through this week, that you don't want to give that up by getting in a wreck and then jeopardizing being able to start the Cup race. I decided to sit everything out until I'm absolutely needed, and then we'll take it from there."

His back doesn't require surgery at this point, and exercises should help strengthen it for the time being.

"We know how to treat it," he said. "This is something that I just kind of let get away in 2008 or whenever it happened the first time. Now that we have diagnosed it, we can make it better. I anticipate this really won't happen again."

The Joe Gibbs Racing team will have a relief driver on standby just in case, but Hamlin doesn't expect to need to resort to it.

Full qualifying and Thursday practice times available




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Matt Kenseth at Texas during Thursday practice. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #17 Zest Ford, climbs out of his car after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on Friday in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Fisher Nuts/Menards Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 on February 28, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, signs the Coors Light Pole board after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with the Pole Award after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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