After qualifying fourth on Friday night, Denny Hamlin will have to start from the rear of the field for Sunday’s Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway after his Joe Gibbs Racing team changed his engine following a practice session this afternoon.
Hamlin is driving this weekend with a sprained right thumb after being caught in a late-race accident last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. He is the defending race winner at Atlanta.
Fellow Toyota driver Brian Vickers will also have to start from the rear on Sunday. Like Hamlin, his Michael Waltrip Racing team swapped the motor on his car yesterday. Both drivers use Toyota Racing Development powerplants.
Vickers and Hamlin were 20th and 21st in final practice tonight at AMS, which was led by Jimmie Johnson with a lap at 186.447 miles per hour in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Juan Pablo Montoya and Kasey Kahne rounded up the Top 5 in the session, while Sunday’s pole sitter, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., logged the 12th-fastest time.