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Denny Hamlin Wins 2nd Straight Daytona 500

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Chris Graythen/Getty Images

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Denny Hamlin beat Ryan Blaney by .014-seconds in NASCAR overtime to win the rain-delayed Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.  The win was Hamlin’s second-straight Daytona 500 victory, the first back-to-back winner since Sterling Marlin in 1994-1995.

“I don’t even know what to say,” said Hamlin.  “It’s so unexpected. I mean, I knew they were going to come with a big run there. My job was to just make sure I didn’t put a block that was going to wreck me, live to race another corner.  Proud of this whole FedEx team. Great to have my girls here. Great to have the team celebrating back-to-back — I can’t even tell you what it means to me.”

Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman was leading off turn 4 coming to the checkered flag when contact sent Newman’s No. 6 Ford into the outside wall where it bounced-off back into the path of the Corey La Joie who had nowhere to go.

Newman had to be extricated from the car and was taken to Halifax Medical Center.  Roush Fenway Racing late Monday night released a statement in regards to Newman’s condition following the frightening crash.

“We pushed Newman there to the lead and then we got a push,” said Blaney.  “I kind of went low and he blocked that and so I was committed to pushing him to the win and have a Ford win it. I don’t know. We just got the bumpers hooked up wrong and I turned him.”

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“I think we take for granted sometimes how safe the cars are,” said Hamlin.  “But number one, we’re praying for Ryan.  Worked really well with Ryan through this whole race, and obviously he got turned right there.”

The Gibbs team was booed by fans for celebrating Hamlin’s victory while emergency crews were trying to get Newman out of his mangled race car.  Team owner Joe Gibbs apologized and explained what immediately happened after the checkered flag flew.

“I say to everybody out there, some people may have saw us and said, ‘well these guys are celebrating when there’s a serious issue going on'”, said Gibbs.  “I apologize to everybody, but we really didn’t know.  We got in the winner’s circle, and then that’s when people told us, later on in the winner’s circle. So I wanted to explain that to everyone.”

The victory was Hamlin’s third Daytona 500 victory and 38th of his Cup Series career.  Hamlin also became just the fourth driver to win back-to-back 500’s, joining Richard Petty (1973-74), Cale Yarborough (1983-84) and Marlin.

Hamlin is now tied with Bobby Allison, Dale Jarrett and Jeff Gordon for third-most DAYTONA 500 wins all-time.

Chris Buescher finished third followed by David Ragan and Kevin Harvick.

Daytona 500 Results

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NASCAR

Kevin Harvick wins NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan

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Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

BROOKLYN, MI (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Kevin Harvick’s two-year winless streak is over after ‘The Closer’ won Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Harvick beat 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace by 2.9-seconds to become playoff eligible and said the key was getting out front on the final restart.

“The last restart I had the 5 (Kyle Larson) behind me, and I knew I didn’t need to let the 23 (Wallace) up,” explained Harvick. “I knew I needed to drive it in the corner far enough, but the 5 had given me such a good push. I had a car length, and I think Bubba got about up to my door. I knew that if we could just get off of turn 2, we would have a chance.”

As the pair raced off turn 2 Harvick started to get ahead and carried that momentum as Wallace and Kyle Larson battled for position.

“That’s what you want, right?” asked Harvick rhetorically. “To try to get away so they don’t have a draft and can make up that time quicker. 5 launched good. 5 gave us a good push, and the key was just clearing the 23 off of two and being able to go down the back straight-away by myself and not door to door and in a firestorm.”

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Wallace was disappointed to not get into victory lane with one of the fastest cars on track all weekend.

“I failed everybody,” said Wallace. “Took the top there on the restart. Thought I could hang with the 4, and just got to racing the 5 and the 22. Hate it for our team. It sucks.”

Wallace’s team owner Denny Hamlin raced home to third with Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney rounding out the top 5.

Chase Elliott continues to sit atop the point standing and playoff standings.  Martin Truex sits on the outside of the 16-car playoff eligibility by 19-points.  Blaney sits in the final playoff spot.

Michigan Cup Results

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IndyCar

Racing Notebook: Pocono NASCAR Weekend approaching; INDYCAR in Toronto; PVGP hits the track and more

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Pocono Raceway

PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The Pittsburgh Racing Now Racing Notebook is jam-packed with NASCAR, INDYCAR,  and Vintage racing news:

Limited Tickets Remain for Pocono NASCAR Weekend:

  • Pocono Raceway’s NASCAR weekend is a little over a week away and if you want to go, get your tickets now!  Pocono announced on Thursday that a limited number of grandstand seats are the only options remaining for the marquee M&M’S® Fan Appreciation 400 NASCAR Cup Series race next Sunday, July 24. The remaining grandstand seats for the Cup Series race are at three price points ($45, $80 and $95) and scattered throughout the various sections of the main grandstand. The only RV camping option currently available is general admission for $250, which includes two guest passes and free admission for up to 4 children 12 and under. To purchase tickets or learn more, please visit poconoraceway.com or call 800-722-3929.
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INDYCAR Returns To Toronto:

  • The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to the Streets of Toronto for this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto.  All eyes will be on Defending Series Champion Alex Palou, driver of the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.  CGR announced on Tuesday afternoon they were exercising their option on Palou for 2023, only to have Palou announce on Social Media later that evening that he was not returning.  Moments after Palou’s announcement, McLaren Racing announced they signed Palou for 2023.  CGR has won seven times at Toronto, the most recent being Scott Dixon in 2018. Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi was fastest in the first practice on Friday.  A second practice session takes place Saturday morning with three rounds of knockout-style qualifying taking place Saturday afternoon.  The race is Sunday at 3 p.m.

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix at Pitt Race:

  • The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix hits the Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum this weekend in a tune-up for next weekend’s race on the streets of Schenley Park. Since 2004, racers from all over the country have come to the 2.8-mile purpose-built track 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh for fierce competition.  The ‘Black Tie and Tailpipes Gala’ took place last night at The Grand Concourse at Station Square.  For more information visit pvgp.org.
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NASCAR

Chase Elliott wins at Atlanta

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Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

HAMPTON, GA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chase Elliott held off a hard-charging Corey LaJoie to win Sunday’s NASCAR CUP SERIES Quaker State 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Elliott was leading taking the white flag when LaJoie got a run heading into Turn 1 forcing Elliott to move to the high side of the track and block LaJoie, who ended up hitting the wall and brining out the final caution flag, securing the win for Elliott.

“When you’re a kid and you’re racing on the quarter mile over there you look at this big track and it’s just out of reach, like not even real, just that your heroes are out there competing once or twice a year on this big track, and that’s just not real,” said Elliott of winning at his home track.  “To be here and to have a day like we had is really incredible, and certainly one I’m going to embrace and enjoy a lot.”

LaJoie, who had a strong car all day said he took his shot at the win.

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“I made my move and it didn’t work out, and the siren is ringing in Dawsonville unfortunately,’’ said LaJoie, referencing the Dawsonville Pool Room where a siren blares after any Elliott win.

Elliott won the races first two stages along with his third victory of the season, joining his Hall of Fame father Bill as the only Cup Drivers to win at the Atlanta oval.

“To see that many people up there and cheering and wearing the 9 hats and seeing the NAPA gear, you want to make those people proud,” said Elliott. “For me, I’m just grateful that the fans of this state have included me in part of the family of Georgia sports and kind of accepted our team as that, and I’m proud of that and glad we could do them good today.”

Ross Chastain finished second followed by Team Penske’s Austin Cindric in third, Petty GMS Racing’s Erik Jones in fourth and Penske’s Ryan Blaney in fifth.

The NASCAR Cup Series next race is at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH.

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