Despite tough day at Kansas, Hamlin confident he can win at Talledega

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It’s been a rough Round of 12 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship for Denny Hamlin.

In the first two races of the second round , he’s finished 30th (Charlotte) and 15th (Sunday at Kansas).

That leaves Hamlin below the Chase cutoff line heading to Talladega in 10th place, 43 points behind series leader Jimmie Johnson and six points short of eighth-ranked Joey Logano.

Even so, Hamlin is confident he can win at Talladega, which would advance him to the Round of 8.

“I’ve got confidence I can win every single week on the race track,” said Hamlin, who won this year’s Daytona 500. “It’s just – this is a team sport and you’ve got to have every facet of the car and the team all put together and we’ve just got to execute. I’ve got full confidence we can go to Talladega and win next week and we’ll show that when we get there.”

Crew chief Mike Wheeler also remains confident.

“We had a lot of challenges today, more than we were expecting,” he said. “We were hoping for a smooth day and a top-three finish and ended up having three or four issues, and battled back from all of them and had a top 15 out of it, which isn’t too bad. We still have a chance to go into next week and we’ll try to make the most of it.

“We knew going into Talladega that we would probably have to have a win to get in (to the Round of 8). At this point right now, we probably need that, but honestly if we go run top three, things can fall our way. It’s not going to stop us from doing the best we can and our speedway program is pretty good for us, so I’m actually okay with going there and looking forward to it.”

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NASCAR America: NASCAR’s stars hit the track for the ‘Little 600’ (video)

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Like more than three dozen of his NASCAR Cup counterparts, Joey Logano is gearing up for the longest race of the year, Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

To warm up, Logano, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Darrell Wallace Jr. and other NASCAR drivers headed to the GoPro Motorplex in North Carolina for the “Little 600.”

Check out how they fared in the above video that was on Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America.


Coca-Cola 600 starting lineup

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
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CONCORD, N.C. — Kevin Harvick will start on the pole for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, marking the second consecutive race at Charlotte Motor Speedway he has led the field to the green flag.

Harvick, a two-time Coke 600 winner, earned the top starting spot Thursday night with a lap of 193.424 mph in his Ford. He’ll be joined on the front row by Kyle Busch, who won last weekend’s All-Star Race.

Chase Elliott starts third and is followed by Matt Kenseth and rookie Erik Jones.

Points leader Kyle Larson will start 39th in the 40-car field after not making a qualifying attempt. He hit the wall in practice and then his team couldn’t get through qualifying inspection until one minute remained in the opening round of the session. The team was unable to get Larson out of the garage in time to make an attempt.

Click here for Coca-Cola 600 starting lineup

Slugger Labbe: How do crew chiefs prepare for grueling Coca-Cola 600? (video)

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Veteran crew chief Slugger Labbe stopped by the NASCAR America studio in Charlotte on Thursday.

Labbe gave his perspective on how NASCAR Cup crew chiefs will prepare for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. While the race length will be the same as it has been for decades, one significant change will have crew chiefs developing strategy that they’ve never had to deal with in the 600, namely, four different race stages.

Labbe also gave his take on the positives and negatives of the Laser Inspection Station for both pre- and post-race inspections.

Check out the above video.

NASCAR: Remembering Martin Truex Jr.’s dominating 2016 Coca-Cola 600 win

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In one of the most dominating performances in NASCAR history, Martin Truex Jr. turned last year’s Coca-Cola 600 into a runaway one-man show, leading the field for 392 of 400 laps.

Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America took a look back at Truex’s record-setting win.

Check out the video above.