Dale Earnhardt Jr. tops final Sprint All-Star Race practice

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It truly was a happy hour (actually, 100 minutes) of sorts for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was the fastest of the 19 drivers that took part in Friday’s final practice for Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt completed 49 laps around the 1.5-mile high-banked track, with his and the field’s fastest go-round coming on his 46th lap at a speed of 193.562 mph.

Brian Vickers was second-fastest at 193.382 mph, followed by Denny Hamlin (193.271), Kevin Harvick (193.023) and Greg Biffle (191.666).

Sixth- through 10th-fastest were Ryan Newman (191.415), last week’s race winner Jeff Gordon (191.198), Kyle Busch (191.191), Matt Kenseth (191.164) and Tony Stewart (191.063).

Carl Edwards was 11th-fastest (190.873), followed by Brad Keselowski (190.759), Jamie McMurray (189.880), Jimmie Johnson (189.707) and Joey Logano (189.660).

Rounding out the field was Kasey Kahne as 16th-fastest (189.135), Parker Kligerman (filling in for Kurt Busch, who was practicing for the Indianapolis 500) at 188.291 mph, followed my Martin Truex Jr. (187.259) and David Ragan (185.008).

Qualifying for the Sprint All-Star Race takes place Saturday at 7:10 pm ET, about two hours before the 30th annual running of the 90-lap, five segment event at 9:10 p.m. ET

The winner of Saturday’s non-points race still has plenty of incentive: a $1 million bonus for taking the checkered flag first.

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Kanaan, Dixon to rejoin Chip Ganassi Le Mans effort

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Both Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan will be rejoining Ford Chip Ganassi Racing as part of their four-car armada at the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans, the team revealed late last week. Both drivers contested the event last year, with Dixon in the No. 69 entry – finishing seventh in the GTE Pro class – while Kanaan replaced an injured Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 68 – finishing sixth in GTE Pro.

For Kanaan, this also represents a return to the Chip Ganassi organization, with which he contested the Verizon IndyCar Series from 2014 to 2017 before departing for A.J. Foyt Racing in 2018.

Kanaan will join Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell in the No. 67, while Dixon will reunite with Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, the three drivers having won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, in the No. 69.

Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla, and Billy Johnson will share the No. 66 entry, with Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, and Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 68.

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