Denny Hamlin back in the car at Talladega

On Friday at Talladega, Denny Hamlin slid into a Sprint Cup Series car for the first time since his crash at Auto Club Speedway on March 24.

Earlier in the week, Hamlin was cleared by doctors and NASCAR and will start Sunday's race, though the team's plans for him haven't been finalized. Whenever Hamlin gets out of the car, he'll be replaced by Brian Vickers, who has been in the No. 11 the last three races and split time with Hamlin in Friday's first practice session.

The caution flag laps at Talladega are long enough that Vickers and Hamlin can perform a driver swap without losing a lap. They practiced the swap in practice and clocked in at just over a minute.

Hamlin suffered a compression fracture of his L1 vertebra when he hit the inside wall after making contact with Joey Logano while racing for the win on the final lap.

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