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Hamlin passed fit to race at Martinsville

Denny Hamlin will race as normal in this weekend's Sprint Cup event at Martinsville after being given the all-clear by doctors.
Denny Hamlin will be back behind the wheel of the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota this weekend at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, after doctors tracked down the cause of last weekend's vision problems.

Originally thought to be related to a sinus infection, Hamlin was forced to pull out of last weekend's race in Fontana, California and instead sent to a local hospital for further tests and evaluations.

"He held his head and said his head was hurting so bad. He was having trouble seeing," Hamlin's crew chief Darian Grubb had revealed. "His vision was getting worse and the pain was getting worse. It got to where he couldn't see and was having trouble with the vision in his left eye because of the pressure and everything that was going on."

Doctors at the local hospital found that rather than a sinus infection, it was actually a small piece of metal had got into Hamlin's eye that was causing the intense irritation, pain and blurred vision. They were able to remove the sliver of metal, and Hamlin reported immediate improvement to his condition.

A CT scan did not find any other complications, leaving the medical team to conclude that the fragment of metal had indeed been the actual source of Hamlin's vision impairment. He was subsequently released from the hospital later on Sunday after being given the doctors' approval to fly home.

Hamlin was subsequently evaluated by a doctor in the Charlotte, North Carolina area on Monday, and was sent home to rest with instructions to return on Wednesday for a follow-up appointment. Following the examination, his doctors have concluded that the problem has now been fully treated and Hamlin is no longer experiencing any problem with his visions.

The doctors duly passed on to NASCAR the necessary approval for Hamlin to resume his racing activity without restriction. NASCAR has received official confirmation from his doctors clearing him to resume racing this weekend. Hamlin himself hasn't commented on the latest developments, but will meet the media as part of the usual build-up to Sunday afternoon's race.

Hamlin's place at Fontana was taken by Sam Hornish Jr., who had been present at Auto Club Speedway as a stand-by driver in case Hamlin's JGR team mate Matt Kenseth had been called away to attend the birth of his third child with wife Katie, which had been due the same weekend. Hornish went on to finish in 17th place in what was his first Sprint Cup start since last April's race at Kansas Speedway.

Hamlin will not benefit from the championship points that Hornish picked up as only the driver who starts the race gets credited with the points. However, NASCAR confirmed that Sunday's absence will not affect Hamlin's eligibility for the Chase under the new format and will be counted as a medical exemption under the rules.

Last year, a last-lap accident at Fontana caused Hamlin to crash heavily, which left him with an injury to his lower back that forced him to sit out the next four races, dropping him down the points standings and effectively ending his hopes of making the 2013 Chase. That's not the case this year, as a race win between now and September's visit to Richmond will put him right back in the hunt.

As well as the STP 500 Cup race on Sunday, Martinsville will also host the second round of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship, the Kroger 250 on Saturday afternoon. It will be the Truck drivers' first outing since the season opener at Daytona at the end of February. The Nationwide Series takes a week off and returns to action a week on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway.



Related Pictures

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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, celebrates winning the pole position after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 14, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
The #11 FedEx Freight Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, prepares for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 23, 2014 in Fontana, California. Hornish is replacing Denny Hamlin who was not cleared to race due to illness.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, stands on the grid after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2013 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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