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Hamlin could be fired up for race

Published March 9, 2013 7:07 pm

NASCAR • Driver fined for comments about new Gen-6 car.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Las Vegas • Maybe Denny Hamlin can channel his fury over his $25,000 fine from NASCAR into a fast finish at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Hamlin got docked for his pessimistic comments about the new Gen-6 car, and his anger over the decision overshadowed the week leading up to NASCAR's third race in an already interesting season.

While Hamlin stewed and refused to pay the fine, most drivers think Sunday is their first real chance to test their new rides on the intermediate tracks they're built to race.

The Vegas race is a bit too early in the season for gambling, however. While most teams are still brimming with optimism after the first two races of the season at Daytona and Phoenix, some drivers think it's not too early to start worrying about the overall standings.

"It's so important to get that momentum and the points base established," Clint Bowyer said. "We've already seen teams struggle the very first two races and get themselves behind."

Brad Keselowski was awarded the Vegas pole after rain scrubbed Friday's qualifying session, putting him in prime position for his first top-10 finish in Vegas.

Last week's race in Phoenix got mixed reviews, with many drivers and fans bored by the single-file racing and relative lack of passing action.

But several drivers found the race compelling and competitive, particularly since they're still figuring out what their new cars can do — and Vegas' bump-filled tri-oval should maximize the Gen-6 car's strengths.

Nationwide Series • Sam Hornish Jr. survived two restarts in the final 15 laps and held off Kyle Busch to win the Nationwide Series race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday. Hornish led 114 laps in his second career Nationwide victory. —

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