Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s hope of a final Cup win at Daytona comes up short

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. dodged a bullet after being involved in a wreck earlier in Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, climbing back from two laps down to rebound to as high as sixth position.

But on Lap 105 and after climbing back on the lead lap after being down two laps, Earnhardt was involved in another wreck, suffering significant damage that brought his hope of winning tonight’s race to an end.

The wreck began when Kevin Harvick spun, forcing Earnhardt into the wall, and then both drivers bounced into the middle of the pack, collecting several other drivers including Brad Keselowski and Kasey Kahne.

Harvick did not speak to reporters, but told Motor Racing Network that he suffered a vibration before the incident, adding, “I guess that’s what we’re supposed to do, ride around on crappy tires.”

Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevrolet, which started on the pole, suffered significant suspension damage that couldn’t be repaired, and his night is over. He was taken to the infield care center, was checked and released. He’ll likely finish 32nd in his final Cup start at Daytona.

“As soon as we got our lap back, I knew anything was possible,” Earnhardt told NBC Sports. “We were just drafting around up there, I think the Ford (Harvic) had a flat and we had nowhere to go.

“It’s been a wild night. I didn’t anticipate this much action and this much torn up sheet metal. … I wish we could have had a good finish tonight, let alone a win. … It just wasn’t to be.”

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NASCAR America: Looking back at Cup winners this year (video)

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The NASCAR Cup Series is through 19 racers. There are 17 more races to be contested, including seven before the Cup playoffs.

It’s been a rough time for many and a successful time for a select few.

There’s still plenty of racing to go. Who will see their name added to the list of winners in 2017 and, more importantly, who still wins a race to make it in the playoffs?

Check out the video above.

NASCAR America: Can Team Penske get back on track in Indianapolis? (video)

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Roger Penske is used to winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He owns a record 16 Indy 500 victories there.

But Penske still has yet to win a Brickyard 400 at IMS. While in other years, Team Penske’s chances may have been stronger, coming into the 2017 Brickyard 400 is a whole other ballgame.

Joey Logano has struggled terribly in the last 10 races. Since winning at Richmond (which was eventually encumbered due to a post-race inspection penalty), Logano has had seven finishes of 21st through 37th. He’s also dropped from fifth to 13th in the standings.

Teammate Brad Keselowski has had his own struggles, dropping from third to eighth in the standings.

The biggest problem that seems to be impacting Team Penske is a lack of speed, more so on Logano’s car, but an issue nonetheless for both cars.

Can Team Penske snap out of its funk and find the speed it’s been missing Sunday, and potentially give Captain Penske his first NASCAR Cup win at the track that means so much to him?

Check out the video above.

NASCAR America: Kyle Busch needs to be aware of Martin Truex Jr. at Brickyard (video)

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Kyle Busch is well aware of his wins drought, not having won in his last 36 Cup starts.

But he also gains confidence and optimism from having won the last two Brickyard 400s.

So how will that impact the weekend?

On Friday’s NASCAR America, Dale Jarrett said Indy “plays into Busch’s hand,” but also to look out for Martin Truex Jr.

Check out the video above.

 

 

NASCAR America: Significance of winning at Indianapolis (video)

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On Friday’s edition of NASCAR America, two-time Brickyard 400 winner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett and Brickyard-winning crew chief Slugger Labbe, who led Paul Menard to a Brickyard 400 win, both discussed the importance of winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway — as well as how to do it.

Check out the video above.