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North of the border

There may have been no NASCAR Sprint Cup race last weekend to take in from the comfort of your Lazy Boy recliner or barstool, but that’s not to say that NASCAR’s senior circuit drivers weren’t staying busy, for the most part.

Dale Earnhardt Inc. drivers Regan Smith and Eric Almirola made the best of their weekend off by heading north of the border — James River, Nova Scotia, Canada, to be exact — to race in the 2008 Carquest Maritime Pro Stock Tour Steve Lewis Auto Body IWK 250 at Riverside International Speedway.

It was the second straight year at the track for Smith, who won the race over the weekend to better his third-place finish at the Canadian track in 2007.

Almirola finished seventh.

Sprint Cup points leader Kyle Busch also got into the barnstorming action over the weekend, driving in the American Speed Association Midwest Tour event at Iowa Speedway.

Busch, who started the race 11th, had the race lead with under 10 laps to go and looked to continue his domination of everything motorsports until mechanical problems ended his run on the day.

Fellow Sprint Cup veteran Matt Kenseth was also on hand at Iowa. He finished third.

NASCAR legend Geoff Bodine got into the old timers action over the weekend, swapping paint one more time with the likes of Harry Gant, Sterling Marlin, Randy LaJoie, Dave Marcis and Charlie Glotzbach before taking the checkered flag in the Old School RacingReunion.com Shootout at the Music City Motorplex in Nashville.

Interesting enough, it was Bodine who won the last-ever NASCAR event at the Tennessee track, finishing first in the 1984 NASCAR event.

Kevin Harvick wasn’t as lucky, though.

He finished second in his qualifying race for Sunday’s TD Bankworth 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, Maine, only to have the weather postpone the event.

And finally, Kyle Petty wrapped up his annual charity motorcycle ride on July 19 in Savannah, Ga. The Chick-fil-A Kyle Petty Charity Ride is a cross-country motorcycle ride that started in Traverse City, Mich., and ended up in Savannah.

It is open to the public, and Petty has brought in a cast of NASCAR veterans and motorcycle enthusiasts to ride along over the years, including Tony Stewart.

Proceeds from the charity ride benefit Petty’s Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., which has received more than $10.5 million from the ride since it began in 1995.

According to kylepettycharityride.com, the Victory Junction Gang Camp is a year-round camp that services children between the ages of 7 and 15 who have a variety of health issues “that would typically prevent them from attending camp.”

Petty and his wife, Patty, also recently announced the opening of a second Victory Junction Gang Camp in Wyandotte County, Kan.

SPRINT CUP OR BUST

Australian driver Marcos Ambrose has made no secret about his interest in driving next season in the Cup series.

JTG Racing team owner Tad Geschickter has long been talking about fielding a Cup team next season.

Brad Daugherty is a former NBA star and current NASCAR analyst for ESPN.

Sounds like a random array of nothing. Well, its not. After announcing last week that Geschickter made Daugherty a co-owner of what is now JTG Daugherty Racing, the team further announced that it would field a Sprint Cup team next season with Ambrose behind the wheel of the No. 47 Little Debbie snack cakes racecar.

JTG Daugherty currently fields two race teams on the Nationwide Series and another on the Craftsman Trucks Series. Those teams would remain next season, according to published reports on SceneDaily.com.

ANOTHER NAME CHANGE

NASCAR’s senior circuit could be on its way to yet another name change should a potential sale of Sprint go through with Sprint and South Korean wireless telecommunications provider SK Telekom.

CNBC.com had the story last week, saying that although talks haven’t hit a “crucial stage,” the dialogue nonetheless was ongoing between the two companies.

The story further reported that it was unclear at this time whether the Sprint Cup would be renamed should a sale go through.

NASCAR has been through a series of name changes since tobacco giant RJ Reynolds dropped its sponsorship of the sport a few years back. Nextel then held the sponsorship rights for a few years before it was recently sold to Sprint.

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2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Points Standings

Rank…Driver…Points…Behind

1. Kyle Busch…2686…---

2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.…2504…182

3. Jeff Burton…2484…202

4. Carl Edwards…2437…249

5. Jimmie Johnson…2319…367

6. Jeff Gordon…2249…437

7. Denny Hamlin…2240…446

8. Kasey Kahne…2177…509

9. Matt Kenseth…2166…520

10. Clint Bowyer…2159…527

11. Greg Biffle…2153…533

12. Tony Stewart…2145…541

13. Kevin Harvick…2143…543

14. David Ragan…2043…643

15. Brian Vickers…2033…653

16. Ryan Newman…1960…726

17. Kurt Busch…1954…732

18. Martin Truex Jr.…1907…779

19. Bobby Labonte…1829…857

20. Travis Kvapil…1801…885

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