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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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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS qualified for sixth position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Johnson is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Designate A Driver Chevrolet SS qualified for third position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Harvick is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, celebrates setting the pole position during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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(Back Row L-R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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