Denny Hamlin OUT of today’s Auto Club 400; Sam Hornish Jr. to fill in

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Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin will not compete in today’s Auto Club 400 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Auto Club Speedway.

According to reports from ACS, JGR president J.D. Gibbs has confirmed that Hamlin’s developed a sinus infection that is impairing his vision. As a result, he will not drive the No. 11 FedEx Toyota in today’s race.

Former Indianapolis 500 champion Sam Hornish Jr., who finished runner-up in last year’s Nationwide Series championship to Austin Dillon, will replace Hamlin in the No. 11.

Hornish was in Fontana already as a standby driver for Matt Kenseth, who along with wife Katie are awaiting the birth of their third child.

USA Today reporter and NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan has more:

Additionally, Motor Racing Network’s Dustin Long passes along word from NASCAR that Hamlin’s issue will count as a medical exemption for Chase consideration. However, he will not receive any points from today’s race since he’s not able to start it.

Hamlin sustained a back injury in a final-lap crash last year at ACS that caused him to miss four full races. So far this season, he has earned one Top-5 and two Top-10s, including a sixth-place finish last week at Bristol from the pole position.

As the race began, Hamlin tweeted the following:

Racing world reacts to Danica Patrick’s Daytona, Indy double news

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Here’s a sampling of quotes and social media reaction to Danica Patrick’s news announced earlier Friday that this would be her last full-time season as a driver, and that she’ll race in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 only in 2018.

This ends a full-time stretch in the top flights of NASCAR and IndyCar. She was in NASCAR from 2012 through 2017, and IndyCar from 2005 through 2011.

Her’s her own post on Twitter and Instagram.

Well…. 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500 here I come. 🙌🏼

A post shared by Danica Patrick (@danicapatrick) on

IMS President J. Douglas Boles

“We’re glad Danica plans to return to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Her final career start will make what’s already shaping up to be a terrific Month of May even more interesting for our fans.

“It’s also fitting that Danica is wrapping up her career at the place and in the race where she became a household name and captured the world’s attention in 2005 – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. We’re looking forward to seeing her back in an Indy car next May alongside all of the tremendous drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series.”

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