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(photo courtesy Monroe County Sheriff's Dept.)
(photo courtesy Monroe County Sheriff's Dept.)
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Race Car Owner Rick Hendrick Injured In Plane Crash

NASCAR race car owner Rick Hendrick and his wife Linda suffered minor injuries after the private plane they were in crash-landed at Key West International Airport in Florida last night.  The pilot of the plane registered to Jimmie Johnson Racing radioed ahead that the brakes weren't working. 

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Tony Stewart celebrates after winning the race and the traditional grandfather clock at Martinsville Speedway (Getty Images)
Tony Stewart celebrates after winning the race and the traditional grandfather clock at Martinsville Speedway (Getty Images)
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Tony Stewart Claims Third Chase Win [VIDEO]

Seven races down in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship and Tony Stewart has won three of them.  Five-time defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was in the lead with 3 laps to go yesterday at Martinville, but Stewart passed Johnson on a restart and held on during the final lap to move up two spots in the Chase
standings to second place with three races left.

Johnson settled for second and shaved 17 points off his deficit.  He still trails Edwards by 43 points.

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Martinsville Speedway (Getty Images)
Martinsville Speedway (Getty Images)
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Race Preview For Martinsville

Both Sprint Cup and the Truck Series are racing this weekend at Martinsville. It’s the shortest track on the Sprint Cup Chase schedule, but it’s also a track where Carl Edwards has had a tough time on. In 14 races there he’s finished in the Top 10 only four times. He’s only ever led 3 laps there and his best finish was third.

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Michael Waltrip #15 leads a pack of cars during Sunday's race at Talladega (Getty Images)
Michael Waltrip #15 leads a pack of cars during Sunday's race at Talladega (Getty Images)
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Bowyer Wins At Talladega [VIDEO]

Finally a win for Clint Bowyer. He ran out of gas while leading last month at New Hampshire and last spring at Talladega Jimmie Johnson got a push from Dale Earnhardt, Junior past Bowyer for the victory. Bowyer had to settle for second.

Yesterday at Talladega, Bowyer was pushing Jeff Burton around the track until the final turn when he pulled out and around Burton to take the lead. Burton expected Bowyer to make his move, but thought he might have made it too soon. Bowyer won it by half a car length for his fifth career victory and first this year. It’s also Bowyer’s second win in 12 starts at Talladega.

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Talladega Superspeedway (Getty Images)
Talladega Superspeedway (Getty Images)
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NASCAR Preview for Talladega

Just five races left in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship and this week it’s off to what some call the "wild card" race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Safety has always been a major concern in auto racing and with the death of Dan Wheldon last weekend at Las Vegas it brings the issue front and center at a track that’s had plenty of controversy over the years

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Kyle Busch leads the field during the Coca Cola 600 last May at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Getty Images)
Kyle Busch leads the field during the Coca Cola 600 last May at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Getty Images)
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NASCAR Preview for Charlotte Motor Speedway

Never count Jimmie Johnson out of the season championship. He sat 10th in the point standings just two weeks ago, but after finishing second at Dover and his win at Kansas this past Sunday he’s moved up seven spots to third and he’s within four points of points leader Carl Edwards. So he’s in good position to extend his string of championships to six in a row.

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Jimmie Johnson crosses the finish line first at Kansas Speedway (Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson crosses the finish line first at Kansas Speedway (Getty Images)
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Jimmie Johnson Wins At Kansas, Moves Back Into Sprint Cup Title Contention [VIDEO]

It’s been a long time coming but Jimmie Johnson is back in the win column after holding off Kasey Kahne in a green, white, checkered finish at Kansas Speedway.  Johnson dominated the race leading 197 laps for his 55th career victory.  But it came down to those final two laps after Jeff Gordon’s engine blew up.  Johnson stayed on the track with old tires and was still able to hold off Kahne and Brad Keselowski.

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Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards compete for track position at Kansas Speedway in June (Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards compete for track position at Kansas Speedway in June (Getty Images)
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NASCAR Preview for Kansas

After 3 races, the Chase for the Sprint Cup is tight as the series moves to the heartland of America for the fourth race in the Chase.  Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards share the points lead, with the next seven drivers all within 19 points of the lead heading to Kansas Speedway.

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Matt Kenseth stands seventh in the standings entering Sunday's race at Dover (Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth stands seventh in the standings entering Sunday's race at Dover (Getty Images)
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Chase For Sprint Cup Continues At Dover

Can he make it three in a row? After going winless in the first 26 races of the season, Tony Stewart has started the Chase for the Sprint Cup with back to back victories. Just a month ago there was some doubt whether Tony would even make the 12-driver field for the championship. He even wrote himself off after an awful race at Bristol August 27th, but boy he's been on fire since then with top-seven finishes at Richmond and Atlanta to get himself in the running for the title.

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Tony Stewart celebrates his first victory of the season at Chicagoland Speedway (Getty Images)
Tony Stewart celebrates his first victory of the season at Chicagoland Speedway (Getty Images)
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Tony Stewart Wins NASCAR Chase Opener [VIDEO]

Tony Stewart's first win of the season couldn't have come at a better time.  One day after rain washed out the scheduled Chase for the Nextel Cup opener at Chicagoland, Stewart ended a 32-race winless skid by conserving fuel over the final laps for his 40th career victory

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Chicagoland Speedway (Getty Images)
Chicagoland Speedway (Getty Images)
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NASCAR’s Chase For the Sprint Cup Begins Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway

For the first time since the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship format began it’ll start at a track other than New Hampshire. The 10-week Chase begins this Sunday with a 400-mile race at the 1.5 mile Chicagoland Speedway.

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Kevin Harvick celebrates Saturday night's victory at Richmond.  It also earned him a share of the lead in the Chase For the Sprint Cup championship standings (Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick celebrates Saturday night's victory at Richmond. It also earned him a share of the lead in the Chase For the Sprint Cup championship standings (Getty Images)
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Harvick Wins at Richmond – NASCAR Chase Standings Finalized [VIDEO]

The seedings are now set for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.  Kevin Harvick won Saturday night's 400 lap race at Richmond giving him four victories this season and that was good enough to put him into a tie with Kyle Busch atop the standings heading into the final 10 races of the season.  It was Harvick's first victory since May 29th at Charlotte and ended a nearly summer-long stretch of sub-par performances.

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