DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — A joyful Dale Earnhardt Jr. returned to the racetrack Saturday, finishing fifth in the Xfinity event at Darlington Raceway a little more than two weeks after he and his family escaped a plane that crash-landed in Tennessee and went up in flames.

The race was a welcome relief from thinking about the crash for Earnhardt and his family. He hopped in his car after kissing wife Amy and 16-month old daughter Isla, and his driving skills kicked in as he moved up from 14th place.

While Earnhardt was grateful for his showing, Denny Hamlin saw his win stripped away when his first-place car failed inspection. Second-place finisher Cole Custer was awarded the victory shortly after Hamlin, crew chief Ben Bashore and Joe Gibbs Racing executive vice president of Xfinity & Development Steve DeSouza left the podium.

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