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Top News: Hamlin skips Sprint Cup practice with bad back

Bad Back Sidelines Hamlin For Sprint Cup Practice, Nationwide Race

Denny Hamlin did not participate in NASCAR Sprint Cup practice Thursday afternoon at Daytona due a bad back. Hamlin’s car was driven by Joe Gibbs racing teammate Joey Logano, who split time between his No. 20 and Hamlin’s No. 11 in the two practices.
According to a report by AOL Sporting News’ Bob Pockrass, (http://aol.sportingnews.com/nascar/story/2012-07-05/denny-hamlin-back-injury-misses-sprint-cup-practice-joe-gibbs-racing) Hamlin has also opted out of running tonight’s Nationwide Series Subway Jalapeno 250. Hamlin had been slated to drive the No. 18 car in the Nationwide race, however Logano will now take that seat and Clint Bowyer will drive the No. 20.

In an Associated Press report, Hamlin said he woke up with sore back earlier this week and thought it was “in the best interest of the team to sit it out.” He also said he believed the injury was nothing serious.

Hamlin, however, must qualify his Sprint Cup car tonight to be eligible for Saturday’s race, and he must at least start Saturday’s race to be eligible for the driver’s points. As of Thursday afternoon, team officials did not anticipate needing a backup driver for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400.

Hamlin is currently fifth in the points standings with two victories this year. He’s coming off of a solid third-place finish last weekend at Kentucky.

Nationwide Dash 4 Cash Will Give Fans a Chance To Win Big Bucks

The NASCAR Nationwide Series will start its annual Dash 4 Cash series this weekend at Daytona. Friday night’s Nationwide race will serve as the qualifying race to see which four drivers will be eligible for the first Dash 4 Cash race. The first four finishers who are eligible for the Nationwide points title, will be considered eligible for the cash prize.

The actual Dash 4 Cash competition will start at New Hampshire July 14th. The first finisher of the four eligible drivers will receive $100,000 in cash along with an automatic spot into the next Dash 4 Cash race. Those other races are July 22nd at Chicagoland, July 28th at Indianapolis and August 4th at Iowa. The eligible driver who finishes highest among the four drivers each week will advance as well as the next three Nationwide eligible points drivers. However, if the same driver finishes first among the four eligible drivers each week, then that driver will win $1 million.

“I’ve been waiting for these races,” said Austin Dillon who scored his first career Nationwide victory last weekend in Kentucky. “It’s going to be a wild one at Daytona and anybody can put themselves in a position for $100,000 going into New Hampshire. I’m going to try to stay out of trouble early and have a shot at the end to be one of those top four to have a chance at the Dash 4 Cash (bonus) next week.”

Drivers will also win the same amount of money for their fan partners, as Elliott Sadler won $100,000 for his fan partner, Joe Thornton, from Virginia, last year.

“We’ve always been a ‘fans first’ sport and to bring them in to have the opportunity to win this kind of money is awesome,” Sadler said.

For more information and to sign up fans can visit NASCAR.com/Dash4Cash.

Earnhardt Jr. To Drive Patriotic Scheme At Daytona

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s No. 88 Chevrolet will feature a different look when it takes to the track Saturday night at Daytona. As part of the NASCAR Unites – An American Salute program, Earnhardt, Jr.’s paint scheme will honor National Guard soldiers as well as Independence Day. The scheme is the final in the six-week program that began with the Coca-Cola 600 Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte.The National Guard is the country’s oldest Armed Forces component.

Earnhardt Jr. is currently second in the Sprint Cup points standings, 11 points behind leader Matt Kenseth. He broke his 143-race losing streak three weeks ago on Father’s Day at Michigan.

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