Hanging on: Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne among those to survive Chase bubble at Dover

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Survive and advance. Turns out it works pretty good in NASCAR, too.

With today’s first-ever Chase for the Sprint Cup elimination race at Dover International Speedway, pressure reached a boiling point for those Chase drivers fighting to make the Top 12 and go on to the Contender Round.

But while some on the advance bubble couldn’t get the results they needed to keep their championship hopes alive, others did.

Among the latter group were Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth.

While teammate Kyle Busch had a decent points cushion before today, Hamlin and Kenseth did not; in fact, Hamlin was outside the cutoff.

But both of them did what they had to do.

Kenseth finished fifth to be 20 points inside the Top 12 and Hamlin – who had dubbed this race as the most important of his career – finished 11th to secure his spot in the next round by a mere four points.

“I feel great,” Hamlin said to ESPN. You never know what can happen. I know we had a car that was capable to race our way in, but I didn’t think it was going to be that close…I’m just happy this all resets, we start from scratch and have another life.

“The tracks just keep getting better for as this Chase goes on. We’re sitting in good shape. We’re as level as anyone right now. This is going to be a great comeback story if we keep going.”

Between Kenseth and Hamlin on the Chase Grid after Dover were eighth-place finisher Ryan Newman (+14 points over the cutoff) and 11th-place finisher Carl Edwards (also at +14 points), the latter now being the sole representative for Roush Fenway Racing after Greg Biffle was eliminated.

And at the bottom of the Chase Grid – but nonetheless moving on – was Kasey Kahne after what may be the hardest-fought 20th-place finish he’ll ever have.

On Lap 160, a loose wheel forced Kahne to the pits under green and knocked him two laps down. He pitted again under at Lap 240, going four laps down briefly.

But this time, the pit cycle played out under green as he needed it to. A caution at Lap 253 allowed him to pull within one lap down and get in the hunt for the free pass that would put him back on the lead lap.

Kahne never got it. But as the latter stages of the race progressed, he found himself in conflict with Kurt Busch for the advance position thanks to Busch fading on long runs.

With less than 50 to go, Busch held the advance position but a tight condition on his car forced him to cede precious positions. Meanwhile, Kahne helped his cause by passing Greg Biffle for 20th spot.

In the end, the math worked out in Kahne’s favor.

After making the Chase with a victory in the penultimate regular season race at Atlanta, Kahne once again came through when he needed to.

Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

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NASCAR will be making its debut on the Daytona International Speedway road course next month, and there’s a big fan who’d like to join the historic weekend.

This fan actually has impressive credentials, too — a few thousand laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile layout that annually plays host to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In 2014, the winning GTLM team in the sports car endurance classic included IMSA Porsche driver Nick Tandy, who rabidly has followed NASCAR for more than 30 years since growing up in England.

So why not try racing NASCAR? Especially because Tandy has the weekend of Aug. 14-16 free.

He’s not picky, either — offering up his services on Twitter (as well as those of Porsche teammate Earl Bamber) for an ARCA, Xfinity, trucks or Cup ride.

Tandy’s affinity for American stock-car racing runs deep.

His first trip to the World Center of Racing was as a fan attending the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. During Rolex testing in January, Tandy, 35, said he hadn’t missed a Cup race on TV in 15 years.

Among his favorite NASCAR drivers: the Earnhardts, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. When IMSA ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, Tandy stayed a few extra days at the Brickyard and bought Kyle Busch gear for himself and his children.

He briefly took the stage during a NASCAR weekend last October. After IMSA’s season finale at Road Atlanta, Tandy made a few demonstration laps and a burnout in his No. 911 Porsche before the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

He also has some experience in stock cars, having raced Modified-type grass-roots series on England’s quarter-mile short tracks.

Couple that with a Daytona road course record that includes two consecutive podium class finishes (including last Saturday) and a sports car resume with 13 IMSA victories and an overall win in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans … and maybe a NASCAR team should take a look.

And Tandy isn’t the only IMSA driver who likely would be available.

Corvette driver Jordan Taylor, who won the 2017 Rolex 24 overall title with Jeff Gordon as a teammate (and the inspiration for his Rodney Sandstrom persona), also tweeted his availability for the weekend on the high banks.

Sports car veteran Andy Lally, a GTD driver with multiple class wins in the Rolex 24 as well as 38 Cup starts (he was the 2011 rookie of the season in NASCAR’s premier series), also hung out his shingle.

There also is AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth (who just won at Daytona last Saturday), the Englishman who teamed with Kyle Busch at the Rolex 24 in January and made an Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Many sports car drivers (such as Taylor) already live in Florida, and many are hunkering down in the Sunshine State with IMSA returning to action at Daytona last week and Sebring International Raceway next week. Because of COVID-19-related travel concerns and restrictions, several IMSA stars who live outside the country are riding out the pandemic within a few hours of Daytona with nothing to do.

Why not a weekend at the World Center of Racing?

Over the years, scads of “road-course ringers” (including some Formula One veterans) have tried their hands in stock cars at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

How about considering the many sports car drivers who already have reached victory lane at Daytona by making a few right-hand turns, too?