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Denny Hamlin nears mark for most speeding penalties in last 10 years

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Denny Hamlin is one pit road speeding penalty away from tying the mark for the most in a season in the past 10 years.

Hamlin, who is among the drivers still eligible for the championship, has been penalized 10 times for speeding on pit road this year.

Over the last 10 years, only Ryan Newman and David Gilliland have had more penalties for speeding on pit road in a season, according to Racing Insights Inc. Newman had 11 in 2008; Gilliland had 11 in 2012.

Hamlin could tie — or top the mark — this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. He was caught speeding on pit road in this race a year ago.

Here is the list of most speeding penalties on pit road in the last 10 years:

11 – Ryan Newman (2008)

11 – David Gilliland (2012)

10 – Denny Hamlin (2016)

10 – Jamie McMurray (2010)

9 – Michael Waltrip (2008)

9 – Sam Hornish Jr. (2008)

Here is the list of most speeding penalties this season:

10 – Denny Hamlin

7 – Greg Biffle

7 – Kyle Larson

7 – Paul Menard

7 – Ryan Newman

7 – David Ragan

7 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

6 – Austin Dillon

6 – Jimmie Johnson

6 – Michael McDowell

6 – Jamie McMurray

6 – Regan Smith

5 – AJ Allmendinger

5 – Chase Elliott

5 – Casey Mears

5 – Brian Scott

Hamlin was penalized for speeding last weekend at Martinsville Speedway — the second race in a row he’s been caught exceeding the speed limit on pit road.

“Typically the way I shift from first to second, leaving my pit box, I usually wind out first gear,’’ Hamlin said after the race. “With first and second gear being so close together, I was over. I knew when they called it that I sped.

“It wasn’t like we were just rolling and just rolling too fast. It was just exiting my pit box. If I remember right, got jammed up by whoever was pitted in front of me. There was cars coming on the outside, so I was trying to gas to get clear of them, then back off. These shorter sections, I just didn’t have time to get it back.’’

Even with such penalties, Hamlin has scored five top-five finishes this season. He placed third after serving penalties for speeding on pit road at Auto Club Speedway, Bristol in August, the fall Talladega race and fall Martinsville. Hamlin finished fourth at Indianapolis after a pit road speeding penalty.

Kevin Harvick’s car fails inspection, will start at rear of Coca-Cola 600

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CONCORD, N.C. — Kevin Harvick will start at the rear of the field for the Coca-Cola 600 after his car failed to pass inspection Thursday and did not make a qualifying attempt.

Harvick’s team also will miss 30 minutes of final practice Saturday and be without car chief Robert Smith the rest of the weekend.

Harvick’s car failed inspection three times.

MORE: Coca-Cola 600 starting lineup

“I think it’s something that has been building throughout the year and at some point you had to get back control of it,’’ crew chief Rodney Childers said. “Basically, the template side of it wasn’t getting used and straight edges weren’t getting used and we were purely going off the (Optical Scanning Station). That was fine until it somewhat starts to get out of hand. They changed some things around last week and some personnel around and some positions around and started checking things differently.

“The whole garage had trouble last week, but we all got through it. I’ll be honest with you, we worked on this thing for 12 hours Monday (at the shop) trying to get all of it how they wanted it. We felt good about it when we unloaded it. We went through it and … everything was good.

“We went back through for qualifying and it was red. We sanded on it and it was more red, and we sanded on it again and it was more red. That part I don’t understand. That part is disappointing. It’s not their fault.

“Everybody is going to push things as much as they can, and I think everybody knows that the 4 team is out to push things as much as they can and win races. It’s disappointing to start in the back. It’s disappointing not to have (Smith) here. We’ll get through it as a race team. We’ll have a good car on Sunday.’’

About losing 30 minutes of practice time Saturday, Childers said: “You either got a good car or you don’t. I’m guessing it will be pretty good. We’ll just have to serve our penalty and move on.’’

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Starting lineup for the Coca-Cola 600

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Kyle Busch and Joey Logano will start on the front row of Sunday’s Coca-Coal 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Busch will start from his third pole of the season.

The top five is completed by Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones and Brad Keselowski.

The top 11 starters have never won the Coke 600.

Click here for the starting lineup.

Kyle Busch wins pole for Coca-Cola 600

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CONCORD, N.C. — Kyle Busch will start from his second career pole in the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday.

Busch claimed his third pole of the season Thursday with a top speed of 191.836 mph around Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Busch’s last Coke 600 pole was in 2008. His only other Charlotte pole was in 2014.

He has never won a points race at Charlotte.

“The M&M’s Camry was fast, it felt pretty good,” Busch told Fox Sports 1. “The guys did an amazing job in practice, we weren’t very good in practice. … Fortunately I had extra track time, so I got my Xfinity ride to thank a little bit of that today. It’s all good, it was pure talent all the way around, this whole team.”

Busch’s “pure talent” remark was a reference to his criticism of his team following last week’s Camping World Truck Series race.

Busch will be joined on the front row by Joey Logano, who posted a speed of 191.218 mph. It ties Logano’s career-best qualifying result at Charlotte and his best for the year.

Completing the top five is Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones and Brad Keselowski.

Ryan Newman qualified sixth. It’s his best Coke 600 starting spot since winning the pole in 2010.

Of the top 11 qualifiers, none have won the Coke 600.

None of Hendrick Motorsports’ four cars will start in the top 20.

William Byron qualified 21st and he was followed by Chase Elliott and Jimmie Johnson. Alex Bowman qualified 27th.

“I got told that the fast guys had run the top and I tried it and it didn’t work,” Bowman said. “I mean that’s my fault, I should have stuck with what I know, but our Nationwide 88 car is not bad, we shouldn’t be the far back, but we will be okay on Sunday.”

Kevin Harvick, the defending pole-sitter for the race, will start from the rear after his No. 4 Ford failed inspection three times. His car chief, Robert Smith, has been ejected for the rest of the race weekend. Harvick will serve a 30 minute practice hold on Saturday.

Harvick is trying to win three consecutive races for the second time this season.

JJ Yeley also didn’t make a qualifying run and will start from the rear.

Ross Chastain, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer, Michael McDowell and AJ Allmendinger did not advance out of the first round.

Click here for the results.

Xfinity practice report from Charlotte Motor Speedway

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Brad Keselowski posted the fastest lap in the final practice session for the Xfinity Series Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Keselowski led the way with a lap of 182.340 mph. He was followed by Tyler Reddick (181.281 mph), Kyle Busch (181.165), Christopher Bell (180.493) and Cole Custer (179.970).

After posting his fast lap, Reddick brought out the caution when he got sideways and slid through Turn 4 before stopping near the entrance of pit road.

Jamie McMurray ran the most laps with 42.

Click here for final practice report.

First Practice

Kyle Busch was fastest in the first of two Xfinity practice sessions Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Busch posted a top speed of 181.371 mph around the 1.5-mile track.

He was followed by fellow Cup drivers Brad Keselowski (180.126 mph) and Chase Elliott (180.108).

Elliott is making his first start in GMS Racing’s No. 23 Chevrolet in substitution for the suspended Spencer Gallagher.

The top five was completed by Daniel Hemric (180.066) and Cole Custer (179.820).

Chase Briscoe, who was 10th fastest, recorded the most laps with 38.

Keselowski had the best 10-lap average at 178.763 mph.

Vinnie Miller had a hard impact with the wall in his No. 01 Chevrolet, but was unhurt.

Click here for the practice report.