CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Denny Hamlin said Wednesday his knee is feeling better and he expects to run the full race this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
Hamlin had surgery March 31 to repair a torn ligament in his left knee. He tore his ACL playing basketball during the offseason, and had surgery two days after his win at Martinsville to prevent further damage.
Although he had Casey Mears on standby last weekend at Phoenix, where Hamlin raced 10 days after the surgery, Hamlin didn’t get out of his car even after dropping two laps off the lead.
“I definitely thought about it,” he said. “But I never want to give up on anything and I wasn’t going to give up on the team on Saturday night. They worked hard to get that car ready for me, they were patient with me and I owe to it to them to give it my best effort.
“That’s as true when you are running up front as it is when you are struggling. It was actually an easy decision from the seat.”
Hamlin said his knee is feeling better this week, and he’s been able to keep up with his rehabilitation despite going from Phoenix to Los Angeles for a two-day commercial shoot.
“I don’t see any reason that I will have trouble with my knee by the time we get to Texas,” he said. “Unlike Phoenix where we had to use a ton of brake, Texas is much different so I will be in the car and expect to go the full distance, just as I did at Phoenix last weekend.”
Mears is still scheduled to be on standby.