It was announced in a press release on the Joe Gibbs Racing website on Wednesday that Hamlin will not be competing in Friday night’s Nationwide race due to a sore back. Hamlin was scheduled to drive the No.18 Toyota Camry.
Due to Hamlin’s sore back Clint Bowyer will be running for Joe Gibbs Racing. With Bowyer joining the Gibbs Nationwdie lineup this weekend, Logano will now be moving into the No.18 car instead of the No.20 car,and Bowyer will drive the No.20 Friday night. Brian Scott will remain in his No.11 car since he is the Nationwide regular for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Bowyer normally races for Michael Waltrip Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but since both MWR and JGR both race in Toyotas they are racing teammates. Bowyer will run in friday night’s race as part of that team partnership.
In the Joe Gibbs Racing press release JGR Presdient J.D. Gibbs mentioned that the team is looking forward to Bowyer’s help this weekend at Daytona.
“We’re looking forward to working with Clint and appreciate his willingness to step behind the wheel for us on such short notice,” said Gibbs. “Denny will be fine, but we just felt it was in his best interest to rest his back and not have him have to practice or race in Nationwide this weekend.”
Hamlin won’t be racing Friday night but he will be in his No.11 FedEx cup car Saturday night for the Coke Zero 400. Hamlin mentioned in the JGR release that he wanted to run the Nationwide race but the sore back issues began earlier in the week and that the time off will help in his cup ride.
“My hope was to run the Nationwide Series race Friday night, but i woke up with a sore back earlieier this week and feel it’s in the best interest of the team to sit it out,” said Hamlin. “Luckily it’s nothing serious and the extra rest will help me on Saturday night.”