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Denny Hamlin nears mark for most speeding penalties in last 10 years

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Denny Hamlin is one pit road speeding penalty away from tying the mark for the most in a season in the past 10 years.

Hamlin, who is among the drivers still eligible for the championship, has been penalized 10 times for speeding on pit road this year.

Over the last 10 years, only Ryan Newman and David Gilliland have had more penalties for speeding on pit road in a season, according to Racing Insights Inc. Newman had 11 in 2008; Gilliland had 11 in 2012.

Hamlin could tie — or top the mark — this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. He was caught speeding on pit road in this race a year ago.

Here is the list of most speeding penalties on pit road in the last 10 years:

11 – Ryan Newman (2008)

11 – David Gilliland (2012)

10 – Denny Hamlin (2016)

10 – Jamie McMurray (2010)

9 – Michael Waltrip (2008)

9 – Sam Hornish Jr. (2008)

Here is the list of most speeding penalties this season:

10 – Denny Hamlin

7 – Greg Biffle

7 – Kyle Larson

7 – Paul Menard

7 – Ryan Newman

7 – David Ragan

7 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

6 – Austin Dillon

6 – Jimmie Johnson

6 – Michael McDowell

6 – Jamie McMurray

6 – Regan Smith

5 – AJ Allmendinger

5 – Chase Elliott

5 – Casey Mears

5 – Brian Scott

Hamlin was penalized for speeding last weekend at Martinsville Speedway — the second race in a row he’s been caught exceeding the speed limit on pit road.

“Typically the way I shift from first to second, leaving my pit box, I usually wind out first gear,’’ Hamlin said after the race. “With first and second gear being so close together, I was over. I knew when they called it that I sped.

“It wasn’t like we were just rolling and just rolling too fast. It was just exiting my pit box. If I remember right, got jammed up by whoever was pitted in front of me. There was cars coming on the outside, so I was trying to gas to get clear of them, then back off. These shorter sections, I just didn’t have time to get it back.’’

Even with such penalties, Hamlin has scored five top-five finishes this season. He placed third after serving penalties for speeding on pit road at Auto Club Speedway, Bristol in August, the fall Talladega race and fall Martinsville. Hamlin finished fourth at Indianapolis after a pit road speeding penalty.

NASCAR America: Kyle Busch questions Xfinity rules package at Indy

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Kyle Busch isn’t afraid to speak his mind, and he certainly did so after Saturday’s  Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

NASCAR implemented a number of changes to make the racing closer, tighter and more exciting — including restrictor plates, a larger rear spoiler, aero ducts, and a smaller splitter — and achieved all that on many fronts.

But not for the younger Busch brother, who wasn’t pleased with the rules package. Was it actually designed to specifically slow him down rather than to even out things for the entire field?

Or was he just simply upset because he didn’t win a third Xfinity race in a row at IMS?

Check out how our NASCAR America analysts gauged the Xfinity changes in the above video.

 

TriStar Motorsports team owner Mark Smith passes away

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Mark Smith, owner of TriStar Motorsports, died Saturday at his home, after a long battle with cancer, the team announced Monday. He was 63.

He began his racing career building engines for his brother Jack’s drag car in the 1970s. He moved his family from the West Coast in the early 1990s to pursue a career in NASCAR. He was the owner of TriStar Motorsports and Pro Motor Engines.

TriStar Motorsports fields the No. 14 in the Xfinty Series with JJ Yeley and the No. 72 in the Cup Series with Cole Whitt. The team stated the team will continue operations under the management of Bryan Smith, son of Mark Smith.

“It was dad’s dream to own and operate a NASCAR team,” Bryan Smith said. “He devoted his life to that dream and his family plans to honor his wishes by continuing our efforts in his memory.”

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Victory Junction Gang victoryjunction.org or NOVA (National Organization for Vehicle Access, part of the BraunAbility) novafunding.org.

The family will receive friends from 5-8 p.m. ET, Aug. 1 at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, North Carolina. They have created a Facebook page where you are encouraged to leave a story for the family to enjoy. (facebook.com/Remembering-Mark-Smith-301261653675224)

NASCAR America: Analysts break down Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. wreck (video)

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Given how wild the Brickyard 400 played out, the big wreck between race leaders Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. wasn’t exactly surprising.

Rather, with the way the race transpired from the opening lap, was the Busch/Truex wreck almost inevitable?

Truex got loose and washed up into the left rear of Busch’s car, sending both drivers and their respective cars into the outside retaining walls, hitting hard and ending their respective days.

Check out what our NASCAR America analysts had to say about the wreck from Monday’s show in the above video.

NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr. recaps wild Brickyard 400 (video)

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On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, Dale Earnhardt Jr. — who will become part of our NBC Sports Group in 2018 — looked back on a wild and intense Brickyard 400.

Earnhardt was one of several drivers whose day came to an early ending — in Junior’s case when he ran into the back of Trevor Bayne‘s car, destroying his radiator in the process.

All the mayhem and mishaps could be linked to over-aggressive driving, Earnhardt said, saying that every driver was in “attack mode,” especially on restarts.

Check out Junior in the video above.