Denny Hamlin feels "nearly 100 percent" recovered after fracturing a vertebra on March 24 at Auto Club Speedway. And starting from the pole for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 is possibly the best medicine the Joe Gibbs Racing driver could ask for as he continues the recovery process.
So how will Hamlin know he's all the way back?
"I think winning would do that," Hamlin said. "I think ultimately getting the big trophy on Sunday is the validation that you're truly back. For me, it's going to take some wins and some really good consistency throughout these summer months to put ourselves in position to have a chance at a championship. That's what we're here for.
"Even these small victories, though, give me that confidence that I'm still capable, and I'm still able to do the job at 100 percent like I should be. Any kind of confidence booster for me -- it's always a plus on Sunday."
Hamlin started the race at Talladega and was relieved by Brian Vickers after just 25 laps. He then tackled Darl...