Nascar News - Week of August 8th

The Chase for the Sprint Cup is going on and Jeff Gordon scored an important victory on Sunday. The win at Pocono put him back into contention for the Sprint Cup Chase. It was Gordon's first win since September 2011. The race was rain shortened after a two hour delay. When Jimmie Johnson got loose on a restart, he ended up taking out Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin. Gordon saw the opportunity and shot to the front. When the rains came, he was still in first and declared the winner. Kasey Kahne took second followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keslowski. The ten drivers who will be automatically in the Sprint Chase will be decided in the next five races. The wildcard slots are still up for grabs.

In other news, after the race was called the spectators began to exit the stands. Announcements were made but many spectators did not hear due to the noise in the stands and on the race track. One race fan was struck by lightning and killed while nine others were injured by lightning strikes. The decision to empty the stands was a call made by both race track and NASCAR officials.

The Nationwide race that was run on the 4th was taken by Elliott Sadler. The race at Iowa Speedway was a good win for Sadler because he went from being one point in the lead to 18 points ahead of Austin Dillon. With over a dozen more races to run, there are still a few that could catch Sadler; but right now he has a good lead over the competition.

The Cup Standings are as follows:
1) Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2) Matt Kenseth
3) Greg Biffle
4) Jimmie Johnson
5) Martin Truex Jr.
6) Tony Stewart
7) Brad Keselowski
8) Denny Hamlin
9) Kevin Harvick
10) Clint Bowyer

Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon all still have the possibility to get one of the two wild card spots.

JJ Almendinger was released by the Penske Racing Team. He had been suspended previously for failing a mandatory drug test and then failing a second test. Penske Racing had previously released team members in his organization for failing drug tests. Almendinger's statement made it clear that he was following NASCAR’s Road to Recovery Program and was looking toward joining NASCAR again in the future. Reinstatement is a possibility but it will be hard for him to get a ride in the top Nascar Series.

Sam Hornish Jr. will take over the #22 race car for at least right now. Hornish had driven in Almendinger's place for the last three races. No other decision will be made until the 2013 racing year. Others in the running for the #22 car will be Brian Vickers, Ryan Newman and Joey Logano. If Hornish continues to place high in the races he will have the inside bid on the Penske Team.

The next Sprint Cup race will be held at Watkins Glen. This is a road race, one of only two in the Nascar Sprint Cup schedule. The Finger Lakes 355 at Watkins Glen is a great racing experience for the whole family.

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