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Big weekend at Pocono

NASCAR rolls back into the Pocono Mountains for the first of its two annual races this summer at Pocono Raceway, and while here this time around, fans will be getting a double dose of one of its most up-and-coming stars.

The Long Pond racetrack announced on its Web site recently that rookie Joey Logano will pull double duty into both his regular ride behind the wheel of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing while also making for a long weekend as an entry in Saturday’s ARCA RE/MAX Series ARCA 200.

According to the press release, Logano, who just turned 19 in May, will drive the Venturini Motorsports-prepared Home Depot Toyota at the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

The ARCA race will serve as a sort of testing for Logano, who has never raced at Pocono before, something many drivers have done in the past.

Kyle Busch, who owns the ARCA one-lap track record at Pocono, Ryan Newman, Scott Riggs, Travis Kvapil and Davey Allison have all driven in the event, which marks its 49th race at Pocono.

The ARCA race serves as the warm-up race to Sunday’s Pocono 500 (TNT, 12:30 p.m.).

ARCA has had a long history with Pocono Raceway, dating back to 1969, when the series used to run on the old three-quarter mile track, parts of which can still be seen in the infield area.

The ARCA 200 is slated for a 1 p.m. start time on Saturday and will be televised same-day on SPEED at 8:30 p.m. The ARCA Racing Network will also show live streaming audio at www.ARCAracing.com, which can be accessed inside the ARCA Nation section of the Web site.

WALLACE TO RACE AT POCONO

According to NASCAR racing Web site Jayski.com, Gunselman Motorsports will attempt to qualify its No. 64 Toyota for Sunday’s race with Sprint Cup veteran Mike Wallace behind the wheel.

Although he’s never won a Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono, Wallace has three wins in ARCA events there.

Brothers Todd and Geoff Bodine have been sharing the driving duties with the part-time team this season.

“I am glad Mike Wallace was able to come on board the No. 64 Toyota team this week for Pocono. He’s been around long enough to know what it takes to make these races. Doug (Richert, crew chief) and the guys are looking forward to working with someone of his knowledge and experience,” team owner Larry Gunselman told Jayski.com. “If he can help us get better and return to our goals of becoming a full-time team, then all the better. It helps he’s been to victory lane at Pocono a few times in ARCA cars and has a pretty good record in Cup cars, too. Todd and Geoff Bodine have both been very helpful to this point and I hope we can build on what they started with Mike this week.”

DOUBLE THE FUN

Foxsports.com is reporting that NASCAR officials are considering introducing double-file restarts for all Sprint Cup races with Sunday’s Pocono 500 possibly being the first track to use the re-start procedure.

According to the report, NASCAR distributed a proposal to crew chiefs this week, which states that all starts would be double-file and that the race leader would have the opportunity to chose which lane he’d start in for the restart, but that the third-place car will always restart on the inside lane.

According to the report, no changes to the free pass rule for the first car one lap down, and “cars that are one lap down can choose not to pit, therefore regaining a lap during a caution.”

GRAND EVENT

Comedic actor Ryan Reynolds is wasting no time promoting his new movie “The Proposal,” and will serve as grand marshal for the Pocono 500, which is slated for a 2 p.m. start, according to a press release on www.poconoraceway.com.

The movie premiers in theaters on June 19 and also stars Sandra Bullock, Betty White, Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson.

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2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Points Standings

Rank…Driver Points Behind

1. Tony Stewart …1 853 ---

2. Jeff Gordon 1807 46

3. Jimmie Johnson 1789 64

4. Kurt Busch 1762 91

5. Ryan Newman 1680 173

6. Kyle Busch 1634 219

7. Denny Hamlin 1630 223

8. Matt Kenseth 1625 228

9. Greg Biffle 1618 235

10. Jeff Burton 1587 266

11. Carl Edwards 1582 271

12. Mark Martin 1567 286

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