DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Denny Hamlin has no doubt he'll stay in the car for the entire Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Hamlin turned 23 laps last week at Talladega before turning the car over to relief driver Brian Vickers. It was Hamlin's first race since suffering a compression fracture in a vertebra in his lower back.
Hamlin has no plans to have a driver on standby Saturday night.
He got his first real workout Friday in two practice sessions. Hamlin said he stayed in the car for 90 minutes during the first practice, which convinced him he's ready for a full race.
Hamlin is determined to qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. He's currently 31st in the standings, but only 76 points out of 20th place.