Denny Hamlin Sep 1, 2022; Charlotte, NC, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) talks with the media during the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Media Day at Charlotte Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The after-effects of a crash at Daytona last weekend are going to keep Denny Hamlin from competing in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway.

Joe Gibbs Racing announced the decision on Wednesday and Hamlin discussed the reasons in a statement.

“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.”

Christopher Bell will take over as the driver of the No. 18 car in Saturday’s Xfinity race.

Hamlin is still on track to race in Sunday’s Southern 500, which is the opening event of the 2022 Cup playoffs.

Hamlin was involved in a crash at Daytona International Speedway that was brought on thanks to the rain and wet track this weekend. He was among drivers who were critical of NASCAR for not calling the race sooner, saying that a way to avoid these kinds of crashes in the future is “better officiating, that’s all we can do … we’ll learn from this, I’m sure.”

Hamlin enters the Cup playoffs in sixth place overall.

[NASCAR, Joe Gibbs Racing]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to