Hamlin plans to go the distance at Darlington

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Denny Hamlin plans to run the entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway this weekend.

“More good news after this week’s scan. Healing is going really good and I’m ready to go the distance this week. #makethechase,” Hamlin tweeted Wednesday.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota resumed racing at Talladega last week, and got out of the car with injury replacement Brian Vickers taking over at the first caution.

Hamlin then went into FOX’s “Hollywood Hotel” booth, where he stayed the remainder of the race, and served as a guest analyst of the race.

As Hamlin enters Darlington currently 31st in points, 125 points behind 10th place, he needs to win multiple races and make it to at least 20th in points to have a chance to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup as a wild card entry.

INDYCAR: Newgarden, Sato quickest in first of 2 Friday practices at Road America

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Josef Newgarden was quickest in the first of Friday’s two INDYCAR practice sessions at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

The 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champion covered the 4.048-mile, 14-turn course with a best lap of 1:43.0477, followed by Takuma Sato (1:43.4729), Alexander Rossi (1:43.5603), Robert Wickens (1:43.5774) and Marco Andretti (1:43.8825).

Sixth-quickest was Tony Kanaan (1:44.0429), followed by Spencer Pigot (1:44.1080), Zach Veach (1:44.1306), Scott Dixon (1:44.1643) and Matheius Leist (1:44.2963).

Alfonso Celis Jr., making his Verizon IndyCar Series debut and with Juncos Racing, was 22nd quickest in the 23-car field at 1:44.9164, while Gabby Chaves was the slowest driver on the course at 1:46.4485.

While there were no significant incidents during the 45-minute session, a number of drivers struggled in several turns, primarily due to some lingering puddles from overnight rain, as well as on rumble strips that threw their cars into adjacent grass areas.

The second practice session today takes place at 4:15 p.m. ET.

A third practice kicks off Saturday’s busy day at Noon ET, followed by qualifying at 4 p.m. ET, the second round of qualifying at 4:40 p.m. ET and the third and final round of qualifying at 5 p.m. ET.

The weekend’s main event, Sunday’s KOHLER Grand Prix, takes the green flag shortly after 1 p.m. ET. Make sure to tune in to NBCSN for the live telecast of the race.

We’ll have the full practice grid and driver quotes shortly. Please check back soon.

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