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NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin plans to race despite torn ACL

January 28, 2010 |  5:00 pm

NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin tore his ACL playing basketball last week. With the Daytona 500, the opening race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, set for Feb. 14, Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, decided to put off having surgery to repair the injury until after the season.

Hamlin will be racing at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana following the Daytona 500. He is expected to be one of the drivers to challenge Jimmie Johnson for the Cup championship. Hamlin was the only driver from Joe Gibbs Racing to make the Chase last year, and he is one of the drivers who is expected to challenge Johnson, who is in search of a fifth Cup championship in a row.

Hamlin was in Fontana today  to talk about the Daytona 500, the Auto Club 500 in Fontana, racing with a torn ACL and how he missed out on a chance to play in a basketball skills competition with fellow drivers Michael Waltrip and Brad Keselowski. It would be an understatement to say that Hamlin was disappointed he didn't get a chance to be on the same basketball court with Keselowski.

Hamlin also talked about how he’s glad there isn’t a road course on the Cup schedule for a couple of months and how the physical demands of racing are overlooked.

Go to Haddock in the Paddock for more from Hamlin and his visit to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

-- Tim Haddock