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Hamlin to return for Talladega

The SportsXchange

Denny Hamlin plans to start Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, but won't finish it.

Hamlin tweeted Tuesday that he was cleared "just to start." echoing what he said last weekend at Richmond International Raceway when doctors didn't clear him for that race.

"They all came to the conclusion they were happy with me starting Talladega and getting out when it's a safe time to get out," Hamlin told reporters at RIR. "So ... we'll start our process at Talladega and then rescan again and try to go to Darlington."

Barring any setbacks during practice or qualifying, Hamlin will return for the first time since suffering a compression fracture in his lower back on the final lap of the March 24 event at Auto Club Speedway in California.

Hamlin told that he would drop to the back of the pack at Talladega and drive until the first caution, then leave for backup driver Brian Vickers.

By starting, Hamlin will collect all the points for whatever finish Vickers earns. He has fallen to 28th in points while missing the previous five races. He needs at least 71 points to be eligible for one of two wild card spots determined by drivers inside the top 20 with the most wins.

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