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Fan Voting Open for Sprint All Star Race

NASCAR fans can vote to give one of their favorite drivers a spot in the 2016 Sprint All-Star Race, which is scheduled to be run on Saturday night, May 21st, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The ballot includes thirty drivers who are not presently eligible for the non-points special event … led by Danica Patrick, who’s twice been voted in, and Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year candidates Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher, Chase Elliott and Brian Scott. Fans can vote once daily at NASCAR-dot-com/Sprint Fan Vote. Balloting ends May 20th at 7 p.m. (ET).

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Recap of Last Year’s Geico 500

Dale Earnhardt Junior got some timely blocks from teammate Jimmie Johnson in the closing laps and drove on to his first victory of the season. Johnson – who finished second – first turned back a late charge from Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin, and then kept Paul Menard in his rear-view mirror as Hendrick Motorsports teammate Earnhardt took the checkered flag. It was “Junior’s” sixth win at Talladega but first since 2004. He finished fifteen one-hundredths of a second in front of Johnson with Menard, Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Junior completing the top five. Earnhardt led six times for a race-high sixty-seven laps including the final twenty-seven trips around the mammoth Alabama oval. Pole sitter Jeff Gordon led forty-seven laps, but a pit-road speeding penalty during the second half of the race forced him off the pace and he finished thirty-first … Trevor Bayne’s spin on Lap-47 triggered Talladega’s “big one,” a fifteen-car wreck along the backstretch. Kyle Larson, David Ragan, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick were among the drivers who got swept up in the accident. The red flag was displayed for more than eleven minutes while the safety crew cleaned up the track. When the race resumed, Harvick rallied to finish eighth.

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Vote Now for Sprint Cup All Star Race

NASCAR fans can now vote to give one of their favorite drivers a spot in the 2016 Sprint All-Star Race, which is scheduled to be run on Saturday, May 21st, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The ballot includes thirty drivers who are not presently eligible for the non-points special event … led by Danica Patrick, who’s twice been voted in, and Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year candidates Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher, Chase Elliott and Brian Scott. Fans can vote once daily at NASCAR-dot-com/Sprint Fan Vote. Balloting ends May 20th at 7 p.m. (ET).

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Richmond Track Facts

There are forty-one drivers on the preliminary entry list for Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway led by defending winner Kurt Busch and points leader Kevin Harvick. The five non-Charter drivers who will vie for the four available spots in the starting field are Ryan Blaney, Ryan Ellis, Reed Sorenson, Cole Whitt and Josh Wise.

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Recap of Last Year’s Bristol Xfinity Race

Joey Logano rolled to a dominating victory, leading all three hundred laps en route to his twenty-third career win and second of the season. The Team Penske driver started from the outside of the front row, got the jump on pole sitter Erik Jones at the drop of the green flag and kept his Number-22 Ford in front the rest of the afternoon. The margin of victory was a little more than one second over rookie Daniel Suarez with Chris Buescher, Jones and Ty Dillon completing the top five. Defending series champion Chase Elliott finished sixth. The three hundred laps led by Logano are a series record and this was Team Penske’s second straight win on the Tennessee half-mile. Ryan Blaney had driven the “22” to victory in August 2014. Logano’s win was an early birthday present for crew chief Greg Erwin, who would turn 45 the next day … Greg Biffle owns the track qualifying record with a lap of 127.132 miles per hour, set in March 2004 … The race record for winning average speed belongs to Elliott Sadler, who had a winning pace of 94.740 miles per hour en route to victory in March 2012.

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NASCAR Penalties

Danica Patrick of Stewart-Haas Racing has been fined twenty thousand dollars and placed on probation for the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races as a result of her actions last weekend at Auto Club Speedway. After contact from Kasey Kahne sent her into the wall and out of the Auto Club 400, Patrick walked onto the apron of the track and gestured at Kahne as he passed by – which drew a “Behavioral” penalty from the sanctioning body. Patrick is currently twenty-ninth in the point standings through the first five races of the season with a best finish of nineteenth at Phoenix International Raceway … Kyle Busch drew a ten thousand-dollar penalty and was placed on probation for four races after skipping post-race media obligations last Saturday following his second-place finish (to Austin Dillon) in the X-FINITY Series race at Auto Club Speedway … NASCAR also issued written warnings to six Sprint Cup Series teams for a variety of rule infractions. The list of drivers whose teams were affected includes rookie Ryan Blaney of Wood Brothers Racing, Austin Dillon and Paul Menard from Richard Childress Racing, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing, and Michael McDowell from Circle Sport-Leavine (la-VINE) Family Racing. Kenseth’s Number-20 J-G-R team received two written warnings, both for pre-qualifying violations. Of that group, Edwards had the best finish in the Auto Club 400 – seventh place.

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Can Am Duels at Daytona Set for Tonight

There’ll be forty-four drivers starting today’s twin 150-mile qualifying races with forty advancing to Sunday’s fifty-eighth running of the Daytona 500. Hendrick Motorsports rookie Chase Elliott, who won the pole last weekend; and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Matt Kenseth have front-row starting spots locked in for “The Great American Race” regardless of where they finish in tonight’s doubleheader. With NASCAR’s recently-announced “Charter” system, thirty-six teams are guaranteed starting spots in the “five hundred.” Among non-Charter teams, two drivers – Ryan Blaney and Matt DiBenedetto – are assured of a spot by virtue of their qualifying speeds. That leaves three drivers competing for one available Daytona 500 berth in each of tonight’s qualifying races. Race-1 will feature Michael McDowell, Cole Whitt and Josh Wise scrapping for the one available transfer spot. Race-2 has David Gilliland, Robert Richardson Junior and Reed Sorenson in the hunt … Notable drivers in the first half of tonight’s doubleheader include Dale Earnhardt Junior, defending Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano and 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick. Race-2 includes reigning Cup Series champ Kyle Busch and his brother Kurt.

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