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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: 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.