Denny Hamlin cleared by doctors

Updated: July 3, 2013, 1:52 AM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Denny Hamlin was cleared Monday by doctors who performed tests to see whether the Joe Gibbs Racing driver suffered a concussion in Sunday's crash at Kentucky Speedway.

Hamlin, who missed four races earlier this year with a compression fracture in his lower back, complained of a headache after having his "bell rung" when a tire blew and sent his No. 11 Toyota hard into the wall.

He saw doctors in Indianapolis on Monday morning before a scheduled two-day test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. JGR officials said the driver was cleared for that and to race in Saturday's Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway.

Hamlin said after the race that his back, injured during a March 24 crash at Auto Club Speedway in California, was fine after the wreck.

Although Sunday's crash left him with little chance of making the Chase -- he is 25th in points and 104 points out of the top 20 needed with wins to qualify as a wild card -- Hamlin said he has no plans to take a break.

"Definitely have to proceed on," Hamlin told reporters in Kentucky on Sunday. "I have a test in Indy tomorrow that we're going to do to try to get better and get to performing better. Really today it was the best performance for us in a while.

"Hopefully, at least something to build off of even though we don't have a good finish."

Team owner Joe Gibbs hasn't entirely given up on Hamlin making the Chase or at least helping the No. 11 compete for an owner's championship.

"Who knows what's going to happen; we could get hot," Gibbs said. "I know he'll be the favorite at several of these racetracks we have down the stretch over these next nine weeks. Who knows, maybe a miracle in there.

"And you can't have a great comeback unless you're behind, so we'll just go after it and do the best we can."

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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