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Cup Notes: Another Doubleheader On Tap?

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, April 23 2010

With rain expected on Saturday, fans and competitors may need their Juan Pablo umbrellas. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer

Talladega, Ala. – NASCAR has decided to continue with Saturday’s activities at Talladega Superspeedway as scheduled, despite the threat of severe weather.

Qualifying for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 will be held Saturday morning prior to the start of the Aaron’s 312 for NASCAR’s Nationwide Series, which is scheduled to begin shortly after 2:30 p.m. central.

NASCAR held three meetings on Friday with personnel from the National Weather Service before choosing to proceed with business as usual on Saturday.

“There is a possibility of some severe weather, but there’s a possibility of sunshine,” track spokesperson Grant Lynch said.

A popular destination for fans in tents and motorhomes, Lynch pointed out that a large number of people are already on the mammoth speedway’s property.

“A big portion of our crowd is already here,” Lynch said. “A huge percentage of our crowd is already here. We tell them to take precautions and secure their campsites.”

If Saturday’s Nationwide race is rained out, it could be rescheduled for Sunday even though the 2.66-mile track doesn’t have lights.

“There is a possibility of a doubleheader on Sunday,” NASCAR Vice President Jim Hunter said.

Deal Details: On the heels of the announcement earlier this week that he will move from Penske Racing’s No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge to the organization’s No. 22 Dodge sponsored by Shell/Pennzoil in 2011, Kurt Busch revealed on Friday that he has entered into a multi-year agreement to remain with Penske.

The deal was struck recently between the 2004 Sprint Cup champion and team owner Roger Penske.

“We started with just a light-hearted sit down at a dinner one night, almost like one of those napkin sketches of ‘hey, this is what I’d like to see and this is what might happen,’” Busch said. “Then this (Shell/Pennzoil) opportunity just came up a few weeks ago and it changed the whole landscape that we ended up with.

“I didn’t talk to any other teams. When I weighed my options personally, with my wife Eva and my manager (John Caponigro), we looked at other teams and we tried to find scenarios that would fit for us.

“But none of them were as powerful as creating the longevity with Penske.”

Plate pondering: NASCAR will decide prior to Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 whether to alter the size of the restrictor plates teams used during Friday’s two Cup practice sessions.

Jeff Burton said the teams are sophisticated enough to handle the change without additional practice.

“I would just as soon we line up and race on Sunday and not practice,” Burton said. “I think it would be more fun. I think the teams are prepared enough.

“Whatever NASCAR throws at us the teams can adapt to it really quickly. So I don’t have any concern.

“They could pop us Sunday morning and say ‘here is the plate.’ It would affect us and would change what we are doing. But I think the teams and the drivers are advanced enough to adapt to it pretty quickly.”

It’s all cool: Jeff Gordon downplayed the testiness between him and teammate Jimmie Johnson that surfaced during Monday’s running of the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

“We communicated,” Gordon said. “We played a lot of phone tag and sent texts and voicemails. He was testing at Indy, but we definitely texted.

“We’re fine. Everything’s good. It’s just like what I said on Monday after the wreck, it was just two guys racing really hard. We both had great cars and great teams.

“That’s just competition. That stuff is going to happen.”

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, April 23 2010
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