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Dale Jr. apologizes for All-Star finish, endorses Bowman to replace him in 88

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You could see it on his face and hear it in his voice: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was not happy with his performance Saturday night in the Monster Energy All-Star Race.

As he does after every race, Earnhardt took to Periscope to interact with his fans.

“It’s hard not to get down,” Earnhardt said after finishing 18th in the 20-driver field. “I’ve been racing a long time and it’s hard not to get down. Right after that, it’s hard to keep your chin up, really hard. I’ll get my chin up again in a couple days.

“I did my best, but damn, that’s no good. That’s not good enough. I don’t want to be running like that.”

Earnhardt finished 16th in the opening stage, 19th in the second stage and 18th in the third stage.

In his closing comments, Earnhardt said his performance was “pretty embarrassing.”

Even with his poor showing, Earnhardt did not agree with one fan who asked him if he felt whether the race was boring.

“Boring race? I really didn’t get to see much of it,” because he was so far behind, Earnhardt added.

Now it’s on to the longest race of the season, next Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, a race Earnhardt has never won in his career.

“The 600 is more important (than the All-Star Race),” he said. “I sure would love to win that race. We’re taking another car different than what we drove tonight. I don’t ever want to see that car again. I just didn’t like it.

“I’m going to race my heart at the 600. Don’t worry about that.”

Even though he was in a dismal mood, Earnhardt thanked his fans for trying to cheer him up.

“I appreciate everybody being so supportive, hanging in there with us,” he said. “It’s nights like this that you don’t feel like you deserve much support.”

Earnhardt also made some interesting revelations during his chat with the fans:

* He’s endorsing Alex Bowman to replace him in the No. 88 after he retires. “Alex Bowman in the 88 car next year, is that what you want? That would be pretty awesome. Alex in the 88. That sounds good to me. He earned it last year. He ran real good.”

* He planned to have a cookout Sunday, but he’s not in the mood, given how he finished. “We’re just going to order a couple pizzas,” he said.

And last but not least:

“Amy is not pregnant, no,” he said of his wife.

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NASCAR America: Steve Letarte: Denny Hamlin showing ‘remarkable consistency’

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Things have been going relatively well for Denny Hamlin on the track in 2018.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver enters this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway sixth in points. Through five races, he’s finished outside the top six once (17th, Las Vegas).

NASCAR America’s Steve Letarte, Dale Jarrett and Nate Ryan discussed his season so far in addition to Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.

Letarte said Hamlin has displayed “remarkable consistency.”

“Denny Hamlin is in my mind a super star driver that I know I am guilty of leaving him out of super star conversations,” Letarte said.

Ryan pointed to mistakes on pit road that have prevented Hamlin from enjoying more success this season and in his career overall. His result at Las Vegas was the result of a speeding penalty.

“Five races this season, four pit mistakes,” Ryan said. “He overshot his box at Daytona, he did that at Fontana, he sped in the pits at Phoenix. While I think they’ve had speed, I think that team is still stumbling in the same ways it has in the past. Unless they correct that, I don’t know if they’re championship level yet.”

Hamlin heads to Martinsville where he has won a career-best five races.

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Trevor Bayne on Charlotte Roval: ‘You have to be on your game’

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Rain washed out the second day of Goodyear tire testing Wednesday on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval. Goodyear has tentatively scheduled May 1 as a make-up test date.

Trevor Bayne, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and Kyle Larson took part in the test Tuesday.

“I just took some slow pace laps and got a feel for the race track,” Bayne said in a statement from Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I was nervous, but I wasn’t anxious because I was never going to go out there and make qualifying laps. We worked our pace in and our plan, we stuck to it. I felt really good by the end of the day.

“You have to be on your game, that’s for sure. You can’t really let your guard down anywhere. There’s no room to make mistakes. If you make a mistake, you’re going to pay for it pretty quickly. If you try to do something and it doesn’t work, you’ll pay the price. It’s going to be a survival race. … If you’re smart, you take care of your car and you don’t make mistakes, you’ll have a really good shot at the end for a good finish. I enjoyed it. It was a challenge for me – something new – and I enjoyed that part of it.”

Organizational tests at Charlotte will be in July. There will be two different sessions. Each team is allowed to test at one of the two sessions, which will be July 10 (rain date of July 11) and July 17 (rain date of July 18).

The Charlotte Roval hosts the final race of the first round of the Cup playoffs on Sept. 30 on NBC.

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NASCAR issues two fines for unsecured lug nuts at Auto Club Speedway

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NASCAR announced two crew chief fines for unsecured lug nuts last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

Adam Stevens, crew chief on Kyle Busch‘s No. 18 Toyota, was fined $10,000 for one unsecured lug nut.

In the Xfinity Series, Eric Phillips, the crew chief for Ryan Preece‘s No. 18 Toyota, was fined $5,000 for an unsecured lug nut.

No other penalties were announced.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Drivers to watch, favorite sports upsets

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and begins to look forward to this weekend’s racing at Martinsville Speedway.

Marty Snider hosts with Dale Jarrett, Steve Letarte and Nate Ryan from the “Big Oak Table” in Charlotte.

What to expect from today’s show.

  • The same names have been dominating the headlines in the first five races in the 2018 season. We will take a look at some of the other drivers to be on the lookout for as the season rolls on.
  • One of NASCAR’s most historic tracks is up this weekend – Martinsville! We’ll check out some of the recent drama “The Paperclip” has provided ahead of the race.
  • In the spirit of March Madness, our panel will tell us about their most memorable sports moments, as well as some of NASCAR’s biggest upsets.
  • Plus, The Indianapolis 500 will have a new home in 2019. We’ll have all the details on NASCAR America.

If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.