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NASCAR

Denny Hamlin And Kyle Larson Start On Front Row As NASCAR Takes On Dover

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Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

DOVER, DE (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin is on the pole position and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson is on the outside of the front row as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs continue today at Dover International Speedway.

Hamlin’s fast lap of 21.559-seconds (166.984 mph) was a mere 0.003-seconds faster than Larson’s fast lap of 21.562 (166.960 mph) around the “Monster Mile”.

Hamlin’s pole position is his 32nd career pole in 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races.  The pole is Hamlin’s 2nd in 2019 and fourth pole in 28-races at Dover.

“We definitely had a great qualifying effort there,” said Hamlin.  “The track temp stayed pretty consistent through but certainly didn’t thing we were going run an 21.50 by any means of the imagination.  Proud to have that kind of effort from our team.”

Larson’s second starting position is his 13th top-10 start of 2019 and ninth in 12-races at Dover.  Larson took to Twitter afterwards to explain how Hamlin was able to edge the No. 42 Clover Chevrolet from the top starting spot.

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Hamlin’s teammate Martin Truex Jr will start third after a fast lap of 21.660-seconds (166.205 mph).  This is Truex’ 17th top-10 start at Dover and 14th in 30-races this season.

Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will start fourth and last week’s winner at Charlotte, Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott, rounds out the top-5.

Hamlin knows being out front can pay huge dividends as the “Monster Mile” is one of the most unforgiving tracks on the circuit.

“We can take every advantage we can at this race track,” said Hamlin.  “It’s been pretty tough on me.  Certainly feel like the advantage of having that number one pit stall and a very fast car bode pretty well for us.”

Hamlin currently sits third in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings, trailing his teammates Kyle Busch and Truex by 16 and 11-points respectively.

The green flag for the Drydene 400 drops at 2:30 p.m. ET with Television coverage starting at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN and on radio at SiriusXM NASCAR radio.

DoverStartingLineup

NASCAR

Chip Ganassi Fined And Suspended By NASCAR

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Chris Graythen/Getty Images

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team owner Chip Ganassi ended up on the NASCAR penalty report following this weekend’s events at Daytona International Speedway.

Ganassi was fined $30,000 and suspended from the next NASCAR Cup Series Championship Points Event which is Sunday at Homestead Miami Speedway.

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Ganassi violated section 12.8.1.b of the NASCAR Rule Book “for bringing into the competition area a non-essential individual that was restricted from the footprint”, essentially brining someone not authorized inside the ‘bubble’ which part of the sanctioning body’s COVID-19 protocol.

Chip Ganassi Racing will be permitted to enter their cars, the No. 1 Monster Energy/Gearwrench Chevrolet driven by Kurt Busch and the No. 42 McDonald/Clover Camaro driven by Ross Chastain, in the event.

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NASCAR

Christopher Bell Wins NASCAR Cup Series Road Course Race At Daytona

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James Gilbert/Getty Images

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Christopher Bell picked up his first NASCAR Cup Series win in Sunday’s road course race at Daytona International Speedway.

Bell passed leader Joey Logano with two laps to go to give Joe Gibbs Racing their second win of the weekend.  JGR’S Ty Gibbs won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.

“I knew I was faster than him,” said Bell. “I ran him down from a while back. All I had to do was get a couple good corners and get away. The last thing I wanted was coming down to the checkered flag with him on my bumper.”

“I was trying to keep him (Bell) behind me,” said Logano. “We gambled by staying out and I’d say it paid off overall, but you just hate being so close. He started catching me a second a lap and it wasn’t like I blew any corners or anything. We just got beat, plain and simple.”

JGR’s Denny Hamlin started fourth and finished third in the No. 11 Toyota and said he just didn’t have the speed of the frontrunners.

“For me, I’m stuck at par right now,” said Hamlin, an avid golfer off the track. “I can’t break par. I’m just right there third to fourth fastest, and that’s where I’m at. I think the more times I run, the tighter that gap is going to get.”

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Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch rallied from an off-track excursion while leading the race to finish fourth.

“I just crossed over that fine line of grip,” said Busch.  “The tires, at this track with the worn out asphalt of the infield section, it’s really easy to step over that line.  Matt McCall (crew chief) and all my guys, they had an awesome day on pit road, strategy wise and with their (pit) stops to get us that track position and to get us back up front.”

Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski rounded out the top 5.

“It was a front, back, front, back kind of race, but the Discount Tire team, we just didn’t give up and kept working on it,” said Keselowski. “Eventually, the race came to us. We caught some breaks for sure and made the most of it. It was just one of those never-give-up kind of races.”

The race featured 12-lead changes among 7 drivers and 8-caution flags for 12-laps.

The Series concludes the early season Florida swing next Sunday, February 28 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Daytona RC Results

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NASCAR

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch and Ross Chastain Ready For Road Course Racing

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Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch and Ross Chastain are looking forward to turning left and right at this Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 on the road course at Daytona International Speedway.

Chastain will start ninth thanks in part to a seventh place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500, his first Cup Series start in the No. 42 Chevrolet.

“A great way to kick off the year with this No. 42 car,” said Chastain. “We tore it up at the end – hit the wall a ton coming to the checkered, but still finished seventh. We got a few stage points. Thank you to everyone at Clover, McDonald’s, AdventHealth, Caregility. I still have some learning to do.”

Busch will start 17th on Sunday after being an innocent victim of a lap 14 accident.  The accident was triggered when Christopher Bell attempted to bump draft Aric Almirola but did not hit him cleanly and subsequently sending Almirola into the wall in front of the rest of the field.

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“All those boys started pushing way too hard, way too early, and we got wrapped up in it,” reflected Busch. “Got stuck in the mud, had too much damage and never really got to race. We had to ride around all day.”

Busch ultimately finished 22nd, which left him sitting in 20th place in the Cup Series drivers points standings.

“We’ll dig out of this hole,” said Busch, the 2004 Cup Series Champion. We’re a great team; we’re ready for this.”

The green flag is schedule to drop at 3 p.m.

Daytona RC Starting Lineup

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