Denny Hamlin could be back in his race car for limited duty in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Hamlin received medical clearance from NASCAR and his doctors this week to drive his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the Aaron's 499 after he suffered a compression fracture in his lower back during a crash on the final lap of the March 24 race at Auto Club Speedway in California.
Hamlin said Tuesday on Twitter that he was cleared "just to start" the race. If he is able to make it to the line at the 2.66-mile track, he would receive the points in the championship standings for his car's finish. Hamlin has dropped to 28th in the Chase.
How long he's in the car on Sunday remains to be seen, but it's likely that he would exit during the first caution period for a relief driver. NASCAR will require him to run practice laps and qualify on Saturday
Mark Martin and Brian Vickers have subbed for Hamlin behind the wheel while he has been out. Hamlin indicated earlier that Vickers could replace him in the seat on Sunday.
Hamlin is scheduled to undergo testing before the following week's race at Darlington to determine whether he can run the entire event.