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Dale Earnhardt Jr. goes through gamut of emotions watching Phoenix race

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. can now empathize with NASCAR fans, especially those who root for him.

Earnhardt couldn’t help but share his thoughts on the Can-Am 500 throughout the day on Twitter as he anxiously watched his car, piloted by Alex Bowman, contend for the race win. At his home track, Bowman started on the pole and led a race-high 194 of 324 laps.

When the caution flew with two laps to go, Bowman was given a second chance at what could have been his first career win. He lined up second to Matt Kenseth, who was looking to advance in the Chase. Then, things went south.

Bowman, on the inside, attempted to block Kyle Busch as the field charged toward Turn 1. He was bumped by the Busch and then went into Turn 1 and collected Kenseth. Although he escaped without damage, Bowman lost his track position and ultimately finished sixth.

Earnhardt also offered his thoughts to Kenseth’s spotter, who took the blame for the accident. Chris Osborne had cleared Kenseth as Bowman charged inside, resulting in Kenseth moving down. Bowman, apologetic for the contact, also felt over the radio that Kenseth had come down on him.

With a 21st-place finish, Kenseth failed to advance to the Championship 4.

Sunday was Bowman’s best performance in the No. 88 car for Earnhardt.

Called upon when Earnhardt was initially sidelined because of a concussion, Sunday was Bowman’s ninth start in the car. While the results have not been indicative of how well Bowman has run, he has earned three top-10 finishes in nine starts.

At Phoenix, Bowman broke through with his first career pole and earned a career-best finish. His 194 laps led also eclipsed the number (nine) he had led in his previous 79 career starts.

Bowman will finish the season in the No. 88 car next Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Earnhardt is expected to return to the driver’s seat in February at Daytona International speedway, perhaps happily leaving behind the emotions that come with being an observer.

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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

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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.