NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Denny Hamlin told ESPN.com Saturday that he might return next week at Richmond International Raceway.
Hamlin, who is with Joe Gibbs Racing, said his lower back injury is almost fully healthy. Otherwise, he will definitely be back by the May 5 race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Hamlin was expected to miss six weeks after sustaining a compression fracture in his lower back on the last lap of the race at Auto Club Speedway in California on March 24.
He said if a follow-up scan next week shows bone growth and he gets clearance from doctors, he will race on his home track in Richmond.
"If everything works out, and if the scan looks the way I feel, we're going to be in good shape for Richmond," Hamlin said. "I feel there's been growth there. I feel I've gotten stronger. Everything is a lot better.
"Last week, I would have said probably not. But this week I feel a lot better."