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NASCAR docks 15 Cup teams practice time for inspection issues

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JOLIET, Illinois — Fifteen Cup cars will be penalized time in today’s final Cup practice session at Chicagoland Speedway.

Final practice is from 2 – 2:50 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Eight teams will be docked time for inspection issues Friday. Seven will be docked time for issues last weekend at Richmond Raceway.

Five drivers will miss 30 minutes of practice. They are Erik Jones, Matt Kenseth, Daniel Suarez, Jimmie Johnson and Aric Almirola.

Jones was docked because his car failed qualifying inspection three times Friday.

Johnson and Almirola each were docked 15 minutes for failing qualifying inspection twice Friday. They each previously were to serve 15 minutes for failing qualifying inspection twice at Richmond.

Kenseth will lose 30 minutes because his car failed inspection before last weekend’s race three times. Suarez will miss 30 minutes because his car failed qualifying inspection twice and failed inspection before the race twice last weekend.

Serving 15-minute penalties will be Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ty Dillon, Kasey Kahne, Michael McDowell, Kevin Harvick, AJ Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Matt DiBenedetto.

McDowell, Harvick, Allmendinger, Busch, Logano, Truex and DiBenedetto were docked time for failing qualifying inspection twice Friday.

Earnhardt and Dillon will lose practice time because their cars failed qualifying inspection twice at Richmond.

Kahne will lose 15 minutes because his car failed inspection before last weekend’s race twice.

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Kasey Kahne hopes to have plans for 2018 set soon

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Kasey Kahne hopes to know soon where he’s racing next season, but he says he’s pondered a schedule that could include sprint cars, IndyCar and NASCAR.

Kahne, though, is not counting on the No. 10 Cup ride at Stewart-Haas Racing.

I don’t really think the 10 is an option,’’ Kahne said Wednesday at NASCAR’s playoff media day at the Hall of Fame. “It hasn’t seemed to be throughout. I’ve talked to them and things, but they’ve obviously been working in other areas. 

“I don’t know exactly what I’m doing yet, but I hope to figure it out pretty soon.’’

Asked about the No. 95 car at Leavine Family Racing, which is piloted by Michael McDowell, Kahne said: “I think the 95 is still an option.’’

NBC Sports reached out to a spokesperson for Leavine Family Racing for comment but had not heard back from the team.

Kahne said he doesn’t believe he has to bring sponsorship for a Cup ride for next season.

The 37-year-old admits he’s intrigued about the idea of racing in different series. He owns a World of Outlaws sprint car team. He has always wanted to race in the Indianapolis 500 but that never worked out with the NASCAR teams he was with at the time.

Kahne’s focus remains on NASCAR, saying “I don’t want to get too far away from it because I think I still have some strong years left in me racing in the Cup Series.

“I’ve looked at everything and I’ve talked to everybody. There was a good bit of interest in different areas, but it’s all up to the teams and manufacturers and how they want to align and what all they can do and want to do.’’

His tweet Tuesday night supporting Smithfield Foods, which is moving to Stewart-Haas Racing from Richard Petty Motorsports next season, made it appear as if he was angling for a ride at SHR. Not so, said Kahne.

“People kind of think whatever they want, but I thought that I was supporting Smithfield for staying in the sport,’’ Kahne said. “And I thought that was cool that they are still in NASCAR. Me and (son) Tanner do eat bacon a couple of days a week and it’s Smithfield, and I think that is how it should be. 

“Just with all of our sponsors in the sport … if I see them and I’m at the store to get something I’m going to go to that sponsor. That was really it. I thought people might take it that way (trying for a ride), but I knew that the No. 10 was not my car so it wasn’t about that. It was about thanking Smithfield for being a part of NASCAR.”

While he tries to sort through his future, Kahne also will prepare for the playoffs. He qualified with his Brickyard 400 win in July — his only top-10 finish in the last 16 races.

He and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates — Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. — have struggled this summer. Johnson, Kahne and Elliott, who are all in the playoffs, have combined for four top-10 finishes since the Brickyard 400.

Kahne has no concerns about being viewed in a lame-duck situation heading into the playoffs and his final 10 races with Hendrick Motorsports.

“We talked last week, myself and every guy on my team and they all want to do the best they possibly can in my final 10 races, and I want to do the best I can for them during my final 10 with them,’’ Kahne said. “Yeah, I feel like we have as good of an opportunity to run well in these final 10 that we’ve had all season long.

“Excited to go to Chicago and get it started.’’

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Cup drivers with most speeding penalties during regular season

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Trevor Bayne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. tied for the most speeding penalties with seven each during the regular season, which ended last weekend at Richmond.

Matt Kenseth was the playoff driver with the most speeding penalties with six.

The Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs start Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway (3 p.m., NBCSN).

Here’s a look at the most speeding penalties this season:

All Drivers

7 — Trevor Bayne

7 — Dale Earnhardt Jr.

6 — Matt Kenseth

5 — Kyle Busch

5 — Michael McDowell

5 — Reed Sorenson

4 — Aric Almirola

4 — Clint Bowyer

4 — Matt DiBenedetto

4 — Timmy Hill

4 — Joey Logano

4 — Ryan Newman

3 — Austin Dillon

3 — Denny Hamlin

3 — Kasey Kahne

3 — Corey LaJoie

3 — Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

3 — Darrell Wallace Jr.

3 — Cole Whitt

Playoff drivers

6 — Matt Kenseth

5 — Kyle Busch

4 — Ryan Newman

3 — Austin Dillon

3 — Denny Hamlin

3 — Kasey Kahne

3 — Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

2 — Ryan Blaney

2 — Kurt Busch

2 — Chase Elliott

2 — Kevin Harvick

2 — Jimmie Johnson

2 — Brad Keselowski

2 — Kyle Larson

2 — Martin Truex Jr.

1 — Jamie McMurray

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Guide to NASCAR’s hurricane relief efforts (video)

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The city of Houston and its surrounding areas are still in the early stages of the recovery process from Hurricane Harvey, the Category 4 hurricane that impacted the Texas coast last week.

At the same time, the state of Florida is bracing for the impact of Hurricane Irma this weekend.

Multiple drivers and teams in NASCAR are doing their part to help those in need by establishing relief funds, food drives and other means for helping victims of the hurricane.

Here’s a look at different ways NASCAR is helping.

Richmond Raceway

The track and Team Penske’s Joey Logano have partnered to host a silent auction to support hurricane relief efforts prior to Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 . The silent auction will include original pieces of race memorabilia from Team Penske, Richmond Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Roush Fenway Racing, Furniture Row Racing and other NASCAR teams with proceeds donated to the American Red Cross. The silent auction will be held from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Commonwealth Mall outside The Classic Amphitheater.

Talladega Superspeedway/Atlanta Motor Speedway/Charlotte Motor Speedway/Bristol Motor Speedway 

Both Atlanta and Talladega have opened their campgrounds free of charge to evacuees from the path of Hurricane Irma.

Charlotte Motor Speedway will open its Rock City Campground beginning at 7 a.m. Friday morning for evacuees heading north or inland from Hurricane Irma.

Accommodations will be available as long as possible prior to potential landfall. Evacuees should access Rock City Campground off Bruton Smith Boulevard through Entrance Z and will have access to bathhouse facilities on speedway property.

Evacuees are asked to check in at the ticket office on the second floor of Smith Tower at the speedway’s main entrance, starting as early as Friday morning. After-hour arrivals will be handled by Charlotte Motor Speedway security.

Bristol Motor Speedway’s campgrounds also opened Friday.

Brennan Poole/Chip Ganassi Racing

Brennan Poole, driver of Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 48 car in the Xfinity Series, once lived in The Woodlands, Texas, which is about 30 miles from downtown Houston.

Poole and his girlfriend, Lindsey Giannini, have started a drive called “Poole for Texas” which collects food and funds for the Houston Food Bank.

Containers for non-perishable foods were collected at CGR’s Concord, North Carolina, shop on Wednesday.

For those wishing to make a cash or check donation, there will be a collection box in the CGR gift shop available until Sept. 13. Checks should be made out to the Houston Food Bank.

Online monetary donations can be made through a youcaring.com page. Just $1 is good for three meals. The highest fund contribution will receive a piece of Brennan’s car.

First Data, which sponsors Kyle Larson and the fall race at Martinsville Speedway, is helping business owners in “FEMA defined coverage areas.”

Hendrick Motorsports

All four of Hendrick’s driver have established a relief fund with a goal of raising $500,00o in the next two weeks.

Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kasey Kahne and Chase Elliott have contributed a combined $200,000 to establish the fund and are now encouraging the public to join the effort by making a donation before midnight ET on Wednesday, Sept. 20. Tax-deductible contributions can be made by visiting HendrickRelief.org.

Hendrick Automotive has also pledged $100,000 to the fund.

All donations to the campaign will benefit qualified charitable organizations supporting disaster relief efforts, including the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, which is housed at the Greater Houston Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity.

On Thursday, members of Johnson’s pit crew volunteered at a Lowe’s to help prepare supplies for hurricane victims.

Joey Logano/Shell

Shell, Logano’s primary sponsor, has donated $1 million to the America Red Cross’ Hurricane Harvey disaster relief fund. Logano has donated $25,000 to the American Red Cross and opened a donation portal through the Joey Logano Foundation to collect funds on behalf of the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief.

All proceeds donated through JLF this month will go to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey disaster relief fund.

Logano will have a Red Cross-inspired red-and-white paint scheme Saturday at Richmond Raceway that will raise awareness for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Stewart-Haas Racing

Two sponsors for SHR are involved in relief efforts.

Code 3 Associates, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization specializing in animal rescue and recovery in disaster areas, is deployed in Southeast Texas and is also preparing to respond to Hurricane Irma.

Anheuser-Busch will deliver five extra truckloads – over 255,000 cans – of emergency drinking water to Houston, Corpus Christi and Austin.

Due to very high levels of demand for emergency drinking water supplies, the Cartersville, Georgia, brewery will pause beer production on Monday to produce more clean, safe emergency drinking water.

Tony Gibson, crew chief for Kurt Busch, and his wife Beth Gibson, donated a pallet of water, diapers and wipes to be delivered to Texas last weekend.

Leavine Family Racing

LFR and driver Michael McDowell have teamed up with Convoy of Hope and donated to Hurricane Harvey relief. Texas is home to the Leavines.

Convoy of Hope will be included on McDowell’s No. 95 Chevrolet this weekend at Richmond.

Via Leavine Family Racing

Elliott Sadler

The JR Motorsports driver donated his winnings from Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Darlington to relief efforts.

David Starr

A native of Houston, Starr has donated “a substantial amount of money” to the American Red Cross and will return to his home city next week to lend a hand.

Furniture Row

The parent company of Furniture Row Racing is donating $1 million in bedding to hurricane victims in Texas and Louisiana to be distributed through their partner World Vision, and in turn their community partners.

The company also had a disaster relief campaign with World Vision so people can donate directly through Furniture Row’s site. Here is a direct link: www.worldvision.org/furniturerow.

Matt Kenseth/Toyota

Kenseth will drive the Hurricane Harvey Relief Toyota this weekend at Richmond.

The Toyota Mothers of Invention (MOI) program recognizes women who actively contribute through innovation, entrepreneurship and invention. Select MOIs with ties to disaster response and relief have sprung into action, finding ways to solve steep challenges resulting from the disaster situation in south Texas and Louisiana.

Toyota is partnering with DayOne Response and Well Aware, an Austin-based MOI organization that will assist with training and water distribution, along with LuminAID to bring water purification bags, portable phone chargers and lanterns to those affected by Harvey:

DayOne Response: Invented a water filtration bag that takes 30 minutes to purify water. One bag will provide clean drinking water for a family of four for two months. There are approximately 10,000 people in Houston in need of access to clean water while infrastructure is restored.
LuminAID: Invented lightweight, long-lasting, solar-charged lanterns and portable phone chargers to aid those without electricity during disaster situations.

Richard Childress Racing

The team began collecting bottled water and individual snack packages for Harvey relief on Wednesday. People can bring their donations to the RCR Museum and put them in a tractor-trailer the team has commissioned. RCR is not asking for clothes or non-perishable food – it will not make it to Texas.

Results, stats for the 68th Southern 500

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Denny Hamlin overcame missing pit road with 54 laps left to win Sunday’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

The door was opened for Hamlin when Martin Truex Jr. hit the wall with a flat tire, allowing Hamlin to lead the final three laps.

It is Hamlin’s second win in the Southern 500 after claiming victory in 2010.

Hamlin beat Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones.

Click here for the full results.