Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

After pit penalty, Denny Hamlin wins second Can-Am Duel

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With a push from Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin shot past Dale Earnhardt Jr. with two laps remaining and went unchallenged to win the second Can-Am Duel qualifying race.

Hamlin, who received a pit penalty during a competition caution, led four laps all night on the way to the his third-career win in a Daytona 500 qualifying race.

The defending Daytona 500 winner was followed by Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, AJ Allmendinger and Dillon as Earnhardt finished sixth.

“Got a great push there from Austin, we worked well together the entire race,” Hamlin told Fox Sports 1. “I’ll keep that in mind for the 500. Looked like our cars were really good together. Can’t thank this team enough.”

Hamlin bounced back after he had to restart from the rear following a penalty for driving through too many pit boxes as he left his own pit stall.

Hamlin took the win from Earnhardt, who led 53 of the race’s 60 laps. Entering Turn 3 with two laps left, Earnhardt went low as the push from Dillon gave Hamlin enough momentum to get around on the high side.

“I don’t know what I could have done differently to defend that,” Earnhardt told FS1. “As soon as I heard (Dillon) was clear on the outside, I knew they were going to have a big run. Denny is so smart, he knows what he’s doing out there. One of the better plate racers out there.”

Earnhardt was making his first start in a race since July after recovering from a concussion that forced him to miss the final 18 races of 2016.

Canadian driver DJ Kennington raced his way into the Daytona 500, which will be his second NASCAR Cup Series start.

Timmy Hill and Reed Sorenson failed to qualify for the race.

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Bowyer started and finished second in his first race action with Stewart-Haas Racing … Allmendinger finished fourth for his best result in 10 Daytona 500 qualifying races … Danica Patrick finished seventh, tying her best qualifying race result from last year.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Jimmie Johnson was involved in an accident on Lap 48 that caused minor damage to him, Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones. It was Johnson’s third accident of Speedweeks after two in the Advance Auto Parts Clash on Sunday. He finished 13th while Blaney finished 20th and Jones came home 19th in his first qualifying race.

NOTABLE: Hamlin’s win gives him three victories in the Daytona 500 qualifying races … Bowyer matched his best result in a qualifying race (2011).

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “It’s the most amazing feeling in the world. … This is one of the biggest moments of my life. All the guys at work that pitch in so I can come do this, thank you everybody, I really appreciate it.” – DJ Kennington after racing his way into the Daytona 500.

WHAT’S NEXT: The 59th Daytona 500 at 2 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox.

NASCAR America: 50 States in 50 Shows: New Jersey

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After a week of NASCAR America returns today with the next edition of “50 States in 50 Show,” with a look at the state of New Jersey, which is the home of Martin Truex Jr., Hall of Fame nominee Ray Evernham and the subject of today’s segment, Wall Stadium Speedway.

The 1/3-mile speedway is located in Wall Township, which is about 40 miles east of the Trenton.

Evernham called into NASCAR America to discuss the track, which has been hosting races since 1950.

“Growing up on the Jershey shore, there was a lot of stock-car racing in that area,” Evernham said. “That was a pavement track and it was a Saturday night place to go. .. The racing was great. It’s because of the banked track. There was a lot of dirt tracks and flatter tracks around there, but at the time Wall promoted that it was banked just like Daytona (International Speedway).”

Watch the video for more from Evernham, Truex about the track.



NASCAR America: Aric Almirola recounts Kansas crash that caused back injury

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Last Saturday, Aric Almirola and Richard Petty Motorsports announced Almirola would miss at least eight to 12 weeks with a T5 compression fracture in his back. The injury is a result of a violent three-car accident the previous weekend at Kansas Speedway.

Following the announcement, Almirola sat down with NASCAR America to gives his account of the accident. The interview can be watched in the above video.

MORE: Almirola’s greatest pain is not being able to fulfill children’s wishes

Following Almirola’s account, NASCAR America analysts Parker Kligerman and Kyle Petty discussed the accident and the state of safety in the sport today.

With the many years his family has been in the sport and the tragedies it has experienced seen, including the death of his son Adam Petty in a 2000 Busch Series practice session at New Hampshire Motor speedway, Kyle Petty said Almirola’s accident hits “close to home.”

“When you’ve been in the seat and another family trusts you to take care of their son or their husband or their father, whatever it may be, and it’s our responsibility to look after Aric,” Petty said. “We talk about frontal impacts, we talk about rear impacts, we talk about side impacts. There’s been so much written and spoken about concussion. … But how many times do you see a car fall out of the air? You can’t cover everything. That’s what NASCAR continues to look at, that’s what we all continue to look at. But this sport is never, ever, ever, ever going to be completely safe.”

Watch the rest of the video below for all of Petty and Kligerman’s thoughts on the Almirola and safety in NASCAR.

Ryan Blaney to drive Kyle Petty’s 1987 paint scheme in Southern 500

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The countdown to this years’ throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway began Monday with Ryan Blaney revealing his retro paint scheme on NASCAR America.

With the help of NBC Sports analysts Kyle Petty, Blaney announced his No. 21 Ford will have Petty’s 1987 paint scheme in the Sept. 3 Southern 500, which will air on NBCSN.

This is the third year for NASCAR’s throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway

Kyle Petty’s Ford Thunderbird from the 1987 season. Source: Wood Brothers Racing.

Petty drove for Wood Brothers Racing from 1985-88, when he earned two of his eight Cup wins with the team and scored 19 top five and 48 top-10 finishes. He placed in the top 10 in points in three of his four seasons with the Wood Brothers.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Petty’s win in the Coca-Cole 600.

Blaney will be making his third start in the Southern 500. His best finish in his first two starts was 13th last season.

“When he was with us, Kyle used to build his own aluminum seats,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said in  press release.. “He won a total of eight Cup races. He’s a talented singer and guitar player. He’s done great work with the Victory Junction Camp and the Kyle Petty Charity Ride, and he’s an excellent TV commentator.

“Kyle can do anything he wants to do. He’s that talented. We’re happy to have his name back on our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Fusion for the Southern 500 at Darlington.”

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See the characters NASCAR drivers will voice in ‘Cars 3’

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Last February it was announced that NASCAR drivers Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez and Darrell Wallace Jr. would lend their voices to Pixar’s new movie Cars 3.

Now it’s less than a month from the film’s June 16 release date.

While the character’s names were part of the February announcement, NASCAR revealed the character designs Monday afternoon on Twitter.

Blaney’s character is Ryan Inside Laney.

Wallace’s character is Bubba Wheelhouse

Elliott’s character is Chase Racelott

Suarez’s character is Danny Swervez.

The animated movie will also feature the voices of Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon, Darrell Waltrip, Kyle Petty, Ray Evernham, Humpy Wheeler, Mike Joy and Shannon Spake.

Richard Petty and and Waltrip were voices in the original Cars (2006) in addition to Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mario Andretti.

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