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Racing Notes: Fans Won’t Be Bored This Weekend

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, October 1 2010

Kansas Speedway will be the center of the NASCAR universe this weekend. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Football dominates the headlines each October. But motorsports will flex plenty of muscle this weekend with several major events on tap.

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series are set to roll at the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway. The IZOD Indy Car Series will crown its 2010 champion under the lights Saturday evening at Homestead-Miami Speedway in south Florida.

Road racing enthusiasts will be keeping a watchful eye on the 13th annual Petit Le Mans, a 1,000-mile/10-hour marathon at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.

A month after second-generation driver Chase Elliott drove his Super Late Model to victory lane and became the first driver to win a race at North Wilkesboro Speedway since 1996, the fan favorite facility will see action again on Sunday when it plays host to the USAR Pro Cup Series.

And stock car racing purists will certaily be monitoring the happenings at the historic Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway this weekend. The curtain may finally fall on one of the nation’s oldest race tracks following Saturday’s All American 400, which will be comprised of a 200 lap Super Late Model race and 200 lap Pro Late Model event.

The city of Nashville has made its intentions known that it will close the 5/8-mile oval later this year. Race fans are being asked to contact Nashville mayor Karl Dean and encourage him and the Nashville government to keep the Fairgrounds Speedway open.

Ross Kenseth, son of NASAR driver Matt Kenseth, is among the entries for this year’s 400 in Music City.

Less than 24 hours after departing the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, N.C. disappointed that the stock car racing commission had ruled against his team, NASCAR team owner Richard Childress had reason to celebrate late Thursday after 18-year-old grandson Ty Dillon grabbed the lead from Steve Aprin with five laps remaining to win the ARCA race at Kansas Speedway.

For Childress, it was a welcome reprieve from after losing the appeal over the penalties levied against Clint Bowyer’s winning car at New Hampshire last month. The longtime team owner will now make a final appeal to the stock car racing commissioner.

For Dillon, it was first visit to victory lane in ARCA in just his second career start in the Toledo, Ohio-based series.

“We had a good car all day,” Dillon said in an ARCA press release. “In practice, we were really fast, and in qualifying, we just freed it up a little bit. We thought we might have the pole. The guys gave me a great car.

“To take two rookies, me and my brother (Austin, a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver), and we’ve got three wins and six or seven poles, I just want to thank everybody. They work so hard with these cars.”

The ARCA season finale is on Saturday Oct. 9 at Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina.

ESPN’s coverage of Sunday’s Cup race at Dover was witnessed by 3,965,722 viewers. That’s a significant dropoff compared to the 5.08 million viewers that tuned in for ABC’s coverage of this event last season.

Just as alarming, there were 47,000 empty seats at the one-mile concrete oval.

According to this year’s NASCAR media guide, Dover International Speedway has a grandstand seating capacity of 135,000. Sunday’s attendance was estimated to be just 88,000.

It didn’t take long for two of the Nationwide Series’ promising young drivers to land new rides this week.

Fresh off a top 10 finish in Saturday’s Dover 200 in the No. 99 Toyta for Diamond-Waltrip Racing, Trevor Bayne is now slated to drive Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 17 Ford for the remainder of the season in NASCAR’s junior circuit.

“We are pleased to be able to sign a driver of both Trevor’s caliber and character,” team owner Jack Roush said in a press release. “Trevor has exhibited a distinctive ability to run fast, up front and compete side-by-side with veteran drivers in a relatively short amount of time.

“We feel that he possesses all of the tools necessary to grow into a top-level driver and we look forward to working with him to hone his skills as we move forward down the road.”

Brian Scott will finish the season in RAB Racing’s No. 09 Ford after losing his ride with Braun Racing.

Nearly 10 years following the death of racing giant Dale Earnhardt, it was reported earlier this week that more than 110,000 racing competitors throughout the world are now using the HANS Device.

Earnhardt was not wearing any type of head and neck restraint when his No. 3 Chevrolet slammed the Turn 4 wall in the 2001 Daytona 500.

Over the past decade, the HANS device has been credited for protecting drivers during horrific wrecks.

“We are proud that more racers are choosing to use the HANS Device than ever before,” said Gary Milgrom, vice president of HPP. “We are the inventor of the head and neck restraint, but that’s not the only reason why the HANS Device continues to be the world leader.

“Since we first introduced the HANS Device, its performance has always been the best by a significant margin in scientific testing conducted by independent experts. Recent incidents where drivers have walked away from major front-end impacts such as Elliott Sadler’s crash in the Sprint Cup race at the Pocono Raceway continue to demonstrate the performance of the HANS Device.”

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

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, October 1 2010
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