Joe Gibbs Racing announced that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran Mark Martin will pilot the No. 11 FedEx Toyota entry for injured driver Denny Hamlin this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Hamlin, who sustained a compression fracture in his lower back during a last-lap accident with Joey Logano at Auto Club Speedway, is expected to miss six weeks as a result of the injury. Nationwide Series driver Brian Vickers will pilot the No. 11 for the other races Hamlin is expected to miss, including next week’s NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, as Martin returns to his duties as the driver of Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55. … NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Danica Patrick spent the off weekend at the White House. Patrick served as a guest reader for the 2013 Easter Egg Roll on Monday that took place on the South Lawn of the White House. Patrick was part of a list of celebrity guests that included Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, Sesame Street characters, Super Sprowtz and child actress Quvenzhané Wallis. … Texas Motor Speedway’s 1.5-mile oval served as the backdrop for AJ Allmendinger’s transition back to open-wheel racing. Allmendinger returned to his open-wheel roots and competed on an oval in an open-wheel car for the first time since 2006 during a rookie test session at TMS last week. He is scheduled to compete in two races for Team Penske, the first coming this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. and the second being Indianapolis 500 on May 26. … The Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway – the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ most recent race prior to being idle this past weekend, earned a 4.7 rating on FOX. It was a 24-percent increase over last year’s rain-shortened event. The Auto Club 400 marked the fourth of five event weekends in which NASCAR on FOX has delivered ratings equal to or greater than last year. Through five races on FOX, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is averaging 9.9 million viewers tuned in per event, a three percent increase over 2012.
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