Found May 06, 2013 on
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The driver change planned and practiced by Denny Hamlin and Brian Vickers worked to perfection.
An opportune caution flag flew on Lap 23 of Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Speedway when fluid gushed out of Trevor Bayne's Ford and oiled the track. Hamlin, Vickers and the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing crew were ready.
Recovering from a compression fracture of his first lumbar vertebra sustained during a last-lap crash at Fontana, Calif., in late March, Hamlin received medical clearance to race at
Talladega but planned to exit the car during the first caution.
On Lap 25 he brought the car to pit road where Vickers waited. Hamlin unbuckled his belts, disconnected the radio and popped out of a roof hatch in No. 11 Toyota Camry as
Vickers began to climb in the driver's-side window.
The crew buckled Vickers in and connected the radio. Vickers exited the pit stall less than a minute after Hamlin got there and had no difficulty staying on the lead lap.
"The exchange went great," Hamlin said. "Really, that was about as smooth as it's went for us. Obviously, we've had a few repetitions at it. That was about the quickest that I was able to get out so everything went well.
"I had a checklist in the car with things that I needed to do before I got out to switch over for the next driver. Everything really went seamless and painless." Unfortunately for Hamlin and Vickers, the afternoon didn't continue that smoothly. On Lap 43, Vickers was an innocent victim of a 16-car wreck ignited by Kyle Busch's tap of
Kasey Kahne's Chevrolet. The Hamlin/Vickers collaboration finished 34th, but by virtue of starting the race, Hamlin scored 10 championship points he otherwise wouldn't have had.
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Denny Hamlin returned to action at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, but his run was short-lived.
After missing the past four NASCAR Sprint Cup races because of a broken vertebra, Hamlin was cleared to race this weekend. He ran only the opening segment before being replaced by Brian Vickers in the car.
What did he think of his Talladega run?
"The speed of it is the biggest...
The goal at Talladega Superspeedway was to get Denny Hamlin a chance to turn some laps and collect some points.
He accomplished one of his two goals Sunday.
Hamlin successfully returned from a compression fracture in a vertebra in his lower back by turning 23 laps Sunday before getting out of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for replacement driver Brian Vickers. The swap was made during...
Denny Hamlin hoped for better on Sunday after starting the Aaron’s 499 behind the wheel of the No. 11 Toyota Camry. Hamlin had no intentions of finishing the race at Talladega Superspeedway and after the first caution gave up his seat to Brian Vickers.
On lap 25 Hamlin pulled the FedEx Toyota down pit road to the attention of his crew. As Hamlin exited the car though the roof hatch...
Denny Hamlin started the Aaron’s 499 behind the wheel of the No. 11 Toyota Camry for Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. It was Hamlins first time behind the wheel since a hard last lap crash during the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, CA.
During Hamlin’s time away Mark Martin and Brian Vickers have driven the Joe Gibbs Racing entry. For Sunday’s race Hamlin planned to start...
Denny Hamlin’s much-discussed return to the seat of his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry became an afterthought at Talladega once Brian Vickers...
Team owner Michael Waltrip hasn't announced a driver for his No. 55 Toyota next year, but he wasn't shy about naming the man he wants in the car -- and it's hardly a surprise.
Waltrip wants part-time driver Brian Vickers to take a full-time role in the car next season with Aaron's as his sponsor.
"We've raced with Aaron's for 14 years, and we hope that...
• Rainy weather at Talladega Superspeedway looked to postpone Saturday’s Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312, but clearing skies allowed for a delayed start to the event. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Brian Vickers started 21st for his eighth start of the 2013 Nationwide Series season.
• On lap 2, Vickers and his teammate Elliott Sadler shuffled through the pack to pair together in a...