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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Did You Notice? … AJ’s Sigh Of Relief?, No Dodging This Bullet And Kyle’s Crisis

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*Did You Notice?…* Dodge’s departure from the sport dashes expansion dreams? In the past few months, the manufacturer has been linked with Furniture Row Racing, looking to add a a second car with driver Kurt Busch; Andretti Autosport, exploring the option of debuting a team in 2013; and Richard Petty Motorsports, whose funding from Dodge could have spearheaded co-owner Andy Murstein’s desire to build from two cars to three. It’s clear, despite the loss of Penske Racing that Dodge had options; they just clearly didn’t like any of them. Why?

“Really this issue started many, many years ago as we consolidated down to one team,” explained SRT’s Ralph Gilles, President Of Racing and Technology. “We had a very, I would say, an elegant situation with the Penske group, having a one-stop shop, an engine, everything, a very high quality team to work with.”

Making Sense of Kligerman / Brad Keselowski Racing Breakup

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Do you follow Parker Kligerman on Twitter? Well, if you’re one of over 15,000 that can say yes to that question, it’s a possibility you saw a cryptic post-Pocono tweet from the former ARCA standout.

“Great Recovery by whole Of BKR. I’ve enjoyed the last year and a half,” he tweeted Saturday. “Things you’ll see soon, r 4 the better 4 everyone! #excited4future”

Two days later, Kligerman was no longer the driver of the No. 29 Dodge RAM for Brad Keselowski Racing in the Camping World Truck Series. The change comes as Kligerman sits sixth in championship points through 11 races, with two top 5s and seven top-10 finishes. His lone finish below 11th? A 19th at Kentucky.

Full Throttle – Mopar Bails Again

For fans of cars and going fast, there are a few names that come to mind no matter what your allegiance. Corvette has been around for some 60 years and, for most of those years, has been the symbol of speed and horsepower for General Motors. Ford has had the GT40 and Mustang GTs, as …

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: U.S. Cellular 250

Oh, what a difference a week can make.

Following a late-race (and hotly-debated) black flag while leading at last weekend’s Indiana 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that relegated the championship points leader to 15th and a mere one-point standings lead over Austin Dillon, Elliott Sadler took to Iowa Speedway Saturday, August 4, with a vengeance. After starting from the pole, Sadler took the race lead from Justin Allgaier late in the going, leading 60 laps en route to his third win of the 2012 season.

“They are not taking the championship from us!” cried Sadler after crossing the line by about a second over Allgaier. He should have plenty to cheer about — following his race win and a disappointing showing from Dillon, the Richard Childress Racing driver gave himself some much-needed breathing room in the points standings, increasing his lead to 18.

The Insignificance of Dodge’s Absence from 2013’s First Test

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There’s nothing surprising behind the announcement that Dodge won’t be taking part in the first test for the Cup Series’ 2013 race cars at Martinsville next week. Penske Racing’s on the way out of the Dodge camp after this season, a swirling rumor about the Andrettis coming from IndyCar to NASCAR proved fruitless, and there’s hardly a rosy relationship between the manufacturer and journeyman Robby Gordon. The same Robby Gordon that made the Daytona 500 as an underdog Dodge entry, and got no subsequent engine help despite making all but a plea for a Penske motor in his post-Duel press conference.

Fact of the matter is, there’s no sign whatsoever that Dodge has made any progress on finding a new flagship Cup team since Penske announced their defection back to Ford. The chances of Dodge being unrepresented in the 2013 Daytona 500 are not miniscule.

Tweet ‘n’ Greet – 8/1/2012

@jim_utter: NEWS: AJ Allmendinger had been indefinitely suspended by #NASCAR after his B sample failed random drug test @DNewtonESPN (David Newton): #NASCAR @AJDinger now has two basic options, enter Road to Recovery program or fight in court @ESPNMcGee: #NASCAR doesn’t say what he tested positive for. That’s not a surprise. @queers4gears: As sad as I …

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Did You Notice? … Silly Season Swung Wide Open By One Bad NASCAR Drug Test

*Did You Notice?…* That in life, all it takes is one fleeting moment, one spoken word to turn our lives from successful to shattered?

In this case, it was as simple and tasteless as peeing into a cup. A.J. Allmendinger’s life changed forever Tuesday, suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for violating the sport’s drug policy in a decision that plunges his career into chaos. The driver’s “B” sample, tested weeks after the “A” showed no change in result, an unknown substance (rumored to be everything from methamphetamine to a rare stimulant found in an energy drink A.J. was endorsing) the root cause of what has kept him on the sidelines since hours before the July 7th Cup Series race at Daytona.

Tweet ‘n’ Greet – 7-25-2012

@TimothyPeters17: Waiting in the lobby before @SaraPeters17 and I are called to the back to find out if it’s a boy or girl! #exciting #nervous @DeLanaHarvick: There is nothing better than snuggling keelan and looking into his eyes… ❤❤❤ @Patricia_AFF (Patricia Driscoll): #kurtBusch deep sea fishing in Sitka Alaska http://instagram.com/p/NOknvupTCx/ @JeffGordonWeb: Amazing day in Rwanda …

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5 Points to Ponder: Talking NASCAR Trash, Tires and Tracks

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Yes, Sunday’s race was far from a classic, with rock hard tires again making track position the sole dictator of everyone’s race strategy. But this one was shaping up awful nice before a communication breakdown between Denny Hamlin and Darian Grubb put the No. 11 car that was the class of the field back far enough in the field that even a brilliant late-race charge couldn’t produce a checkered flag. And there’s not many race tracks out there that can overcome hard tires anyhow…or the mentality that every driver that didn’t win had, that they’d win in September…when it counted for something.

Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in NASCAR: New Hampshire – Indy Edition

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Kasey Kahne’s victory at New Hampshire sure shook up the wild card race. Kahne basically assured himself a spot in the playoffs, while he put other drivers who were looking good heading into the weekend on less solid ground.

Ryan Newman, Joey Logano and Jeff Gordon are those drivers on thin ice. Newman and Logano have a very slim chance of winning another race before The Chase, and Gordon’s chances of winning twice also seem unlikely.

NHMS Success and Dashed Hopes Link Newman, Burton

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As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series prepares to race at its only New England venue this week, talk is also heating up about Silly Season. As drivers and sponsors begin to make moves (Matt Kenseth has already announced that he will be leaving Roush Fenway Racing for an as-of-yet undisclosed team, while sponsor U.S. Army has declared its plans to leave NASCAR racing at the end of the year), there are always questions. After the Army announcement earlier this week, Ryan Newman is suddenly in the midst of the talk, while in the background, quiet speculation has been made about the career of another veteran driver, Jeff Burton.

Five Points to Ponder: Of Drugs, Developing Drivers, Drafting and Daytona

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*ONE: The Irrelevance Of The Firecracker 400*

Tony Stewart emerged unscathed from a vicious finish at Daytona to score his third win of the 2012 season and his fourth at the World’s Center of Racing. One never would have known just about any of those things listening to Stewart in Victory Lane, sans the fact that victory lane is where he was standing. The same guy who made highlight reels for years courtesy of his fence climbing after winning the same 400-mile summer race in 2005 was remarkably subdued, distracted in talking about Daytona being special, rattling off sponsors as effectively as Michael Waltrip.

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