Citing soreness from his crash last weekend at Daytona, Denny Hamlin will not compete in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway, Joe Gibbs Racing announced Wednesday.
Christopher Bell will drive the No. 18 car in Saturday’s Xfinity race (3 p.m. ET on USA Network).
Hamlin will race in Sunday’s Southern 500 (6 p.m. ET on USA Network). That race is the opening event of the Cup playoffs.
Hamlin was among those involved in a crash due to the rain and wet track at Daytona International Speedway. He was among those critical of NASCAR not calling a caution and also described the pain he felt from the impact.
“I have had some soreness in my neck, back, and hips from the wreck on Sunday,” Hamlin said in a statement from the team. “I feel like the right thing for me to do is to sit out the Xfinity Series race and put 100 percent of my focus on getting ready for this weekend’s Cup Series playoff race.”