Denny Hamlin had hoped he would be medically cleared to return to action this weekend when the Sprint Cup Series travels to his native state of Virginia.
However, that will not be the case.
Hamlin tweeted Wednesday that he will miss Saturday night's NASCAR race at Richmond International Raceway as he continues to recover from a broken vertebrae suffered in a crash March 24 at Auto Club Speedway.
"Unfortunately I won't be racing this weekend at Richmond," he posted. "It kills me to not be in the car for my team and sponsors but after long discussions with the doctors we have decided to wait on my return back to racing.
"Thanks to all of my fans who have sent encouraging messages over the last month. I'll be back in no time."
In multiple interviews over the last week, Hamlin repeatedly said his chances to race at Richmond were 50-50. The short track is not only one of his better tracks, but it's a place where he attended races as a kid growing up in nearby Chesterfield, Va.
Richmond also plays host to Hamlin's annual Short Track Showdown event, benefiting a local children's hospital.
But after consulting with doctors Tuesday and Wednesday, it was determined that Hamlin had not recovered to the point where the risk of further aggravating his back was minimal.
When the initial injury occurred, it was thought that he would miss a minimum of five races — thus far, he has been sidelined for three.
According to the NASCAR Wire Service, Hamlin will try and start the race at Talladega on May 5 to accumulate points and give way to a relief driver in the early going.
"We do have an agreement, I believe, on starting next week and getting out, so at least we'll get some points starting next week," Hamlin said. "After that, I don't know. It just depends on what the doctors, the results of this (the scan) are and when they want to re-scan and check progression again."
Brian Vickers has filled in for Hamlin the last two races, and will again be in the seat of the No. 11 car at Richmond.