Gibbs Still Mum On Hamlin Replacement

Denny Hamlin

(WOMR file photo)

Thursday morning it was announced that Joe Gibbs Racing is still looking at several driver scenarios to fill the #11 driver’s seat, including fellow Toyota driver Mark Martin, to replace Denny Hamlin while he recovers from a back injury. Multiple sources told that one scenario that JGR has considered is Martin driving all five races in the #11 car, while Hamlin is out.

Brian Vickers would pick up Martin’s schedule in the Michael Waltrip Racing #55 Toyota that includes Texas, Kansas and Richmond. Michael Waltrip will be behind the steering wheel, driving  the MWR #55 Toyota at Talladega.

Another scenario, according to sources, is that Vickers would pick up Hamlin’s schedule for four races after next week at Martinsville, where he (Vickers) is scheduled to drive the # 55 for Martin. Martin or Elliott Sadler would drive at Martinsville.

Still another scenario would have Sadler drive for Hamlin the entire way, although that is the most unlikely option. Both Vickers and Sadler drive a full-time Nationwide Series schedule for JGR. Gibbs said for the sake of continuity, he would prefer to go with one driver versus multiple drivers. MWR, according to sources, would like to keep Vickers in the #55 for as much as possible, because he is the likely replacement for Martin next season. (

Needless to say, the phone lines between Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing have been, and most likely still are, on fire!  Nevertheless, both teams have plenty of time to announce what the future will hold for the JGR FedEx #11 Toyota, since the Sprint Cup series has this weekend off.


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