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Why Denny Hamlin Might MISS The 2024 Clash

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What’s Happening?

Denny Hamlin spoke to the media at NASCAR Champions Week and mentioned that he might miss the 2024 Clash. According to Claire B Lang of Sirius XM NASCAR Radio, Hamlin said that is recent shoulder surgery is not healing as quickly as he thought. He said this will affect his time in the SIM and potentially the ability to run the 2024 Clash at the Coliseum.

You Need to Know:

  • A Joe Gibbs Racing Press Release on November 22nd reported that Denny Hamlin underwent arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder. Specifics were on released on the specific injury that necessitated the surgery. However, no clear indication was given time whether Hamlin would or would not miss any time in 2024.
  • Hamlin has had plenty of injuries before. In 2013, an L1 Compression fracture in his back after a crash at Auto Club Speedway caused him to miss 6 races. He also has twice had surgery for a torn ACL, once during the season in 2010 and once in the offseason in 2015. He also had off-season surgery for a torn labrum in late 2019.
  • Fans on social media gave their best get-well wishes to Hamlin. Others noted how Hamlin coming back without missing much time with this injury is interesting as well.

What Hamlin Had to Say

Denny Hamlin had this to say to the media regarding his recovery according to Dustin Long of NBC Sports. He indicated that recovery is taking significantly longer than he thought it would.

I’m a long, long way from where I need to be…It just changes some things and certainly, probably, the first laps on track will be whatever we do in February. Do we need to analyze (racing in) the Clash? Maybe when the time comes because from what I’ve heard, they don’t want me loading it for three months. Obviously, that timeline does not line up (with the Clash).

Denny Hamlin via Dustin Long of NBC Sports

With Hamlin having his surgery on November 22nd, that means a 3-month recovery would end on February 22nd. The Daytona 500 is on February 18th, so, it is reasonable that Hamlin could race in the Daytona 500. However, the Clash is on February 4th, which is nearly 3 weeks before he is theoretically allowed to “load” his shoulder again.

While the Daytona 500 is the biggest race of the year, The Clash is a non-points event. If Hamlin misses that race, he won’t lose Playoff eligibility or any points to his competitors. If he’s not fully ready, there is little reason for him to compete in the event.

If He Misses, Who Could Replace Him?

It is tough to know the exact candidates to replace Denny Hamlin in the Clash at the moment. Joe Gibbs Racing has yet to sign any full-time driver in the Xfinity Series for 2024, and ARCA driver William Sawalich is still too young to race in the Cup Series.

Sheldon Creed and Chandler Smith are both rumored to be heading to JGR for 2024. Both drivers have Cup Series experience in the Next-Gen car, so, they could be candidates should they sign. Veteran drivers Ryan Truex and Trevor Bayne are also candidates with Cup Series experience, but, they have no experience in the Next-Gen car. Corey Heim may be a dark-horse candidate for the car, but, he has no Cup Series experience of any kind.

In the Stands

Theel finds it interesting that drivers can still race despite these types of injuries.

Brad gave Denny Hamlin well wishes.

JohnDeereFan725 wishes Hamlin a speedy recovery.

Will Denny Hamlin miss the 2024 Clash at the Coliseum? Time will tell, but it is definitely a possibility at this point.

North Carolina Moonshine and Motorsports Trail

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