For Denny Hamlin, coming off the bench and jumping back in a NASCAR Sprint Cup car couldn't come soon enough.
Late Thursday, Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Hamlin, 32, would return to the No. 11 Fed Ex Toyota this weekend.
As of 12:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Hamlin was on a flight bound for Talladega Superspeedway, site of Sunday's Aaron's 499, after missing the last four races due to injuries sustained at Auto Club Speedway on March 24. A little after 2 p.m. ET, he was on the track for practice.
For crew chief Darian Grubb, the game plan is to make his driver's return as comfortable as possible.
"We're going to sit down once he gets here and see how it goes," Grubb said. "Run a little practice and see how he feels and come up with our plan from there.
"I'm thrilled to have him back, healthy and free and clear. Now, it's just up to him and his strength and see how he feels as he goes along. We've been really itching to get him back. The last couple of weeks, he thinks he's ready, h...