Denny Hamlin Pulling Out of NASCAR Xfinity Series at Darlington Due to ‘Soreness’ From Daytona Wreck

by Jonathan Howard

After that massive wreck at Daytona, Denny Hamlin is still feeling it. And that’s why the 41-year-old won’t race in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Darlington. He’s still set to race in the Cup Series for the playoffs. However, he will not be pulling double duty as planned. Hamlin was set to race in the No. 18 for Joe Gibbs Racing. Now, Christopher Bell will race in the 18 in the Xfinity race.

In a statement, released by JGR on Twitter, Denny Hamlin put it simply. He is still feeling that wreck from Sunday in the rain. You know, the one that took out half the field and left more than just the No. 11 driver feeling rough after.

“I have had some soreness in my neck, back, and hips from the wreck on Sunday. I feel like the right thing for me to do is to sit out of the Xfinity Series race and put 100 percent of my focus on getting ready for this weekend’s Cup Series playoff race,” Hamlin said.

There have been concerns all season about just how hard these hits are for drivers in the Next Gen car. We have seen it take Kurt Busch out of the end of the regular season and likely the entire playoffs. It is severe enough that Busch has not raced since his accident at Pocono. On Sunday at Daytona, a lot of drivers had hard hits.

Denny Hamlin Wasn’t Happy About Daytona Rain Race

Seeing Denny Hamlin drop from one race, but not the other is sure to make people ask questions. If Hamlin has been cleared to race, he’s cleared to race. It sounds like he is just sore from the wreck and doesn’t want to risk having to deal with discomfort and pain for two races. Not to mention the risk of wrecking in the Xfinity race and getting taken out of the Cup Series for injury.

It was clear that Hamlin wasn’t happy with NASCAR keeping the race going leading up to the wreck on Sunday. After having to deal with lingering soreness, I’m sure that he’s still not too happy with the decisions that led to that incident.

The good news is that Hamlin is going to be lining up in the Cup Series race. He’s still looking for that elusive championship. Is this the year that he claims the Bill France Cup for himself?