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Sonoma could be 2012 NASCAR finale for R. Gordon
Obama plans to campaign in New Hampshire on Monday. Jerry Gappens, the track president, decided to leave him tickets at will call in case Obama wanted to make a return trip to the state for the NASCAR race. The track announced Friday night that Obama declined.
“Thank you, Jerry for your generous offer,” Pete Kavanaugh, the New Hampshire state director for Obama’s campaign, said in a statement released by the track. “New Hampshire Motor Speedway has a proud history, and while the president will not be able to attend, we certainly appreciate the offer. The president is a supporter of NASCAR and an advocate for the American auto industry.”
RULE CHANGE: A technical bulletin this week addressed an aerodynamic issue that NASCAR hopes will lead to improved side-by-side racing next weekend at Kentucky Speedway.
But buried in the bulletin was a rule that took away team’s ability to use the sway bar as a suspension piece instead of an anti-roll bar as the car goes through the corner. That, along with an increased ground clearance on the side skirts of the Sprint Cup cars that is designed to take away downforce, take effect next week.
The sway bar issue just might slow Dale Earnhardt Jr., who broke his four-year losing streak last week in a car that Kevin Harvick believes had more speed because Hendrick Motorsports had figured out how to use the piece for suspension.
“I think that there are obviously some people that have been running with the bars that won the race last week and their cars have been fast,” Harvick said. “I think everybody has caught on to what they were doing with the bars … and everybody was getting ready to venture down that road. There is some significant speed in that particular package. “
Earnhardt said he was unsure of the particulars of the new rule, but crew chief Steve Letarte downplayed any potential impact.
“He seemed pretty confident that we won’t miss a beat,” Earnhardt said.
Hendrick Motorsports has won four of the last five races, but Jeff Gordon doesn’t believe it’s because of the sway bars.
“What they’re changing is very, very slight and I think our cars and our teams are good enough to keep the performance going with that change,” he said.
By David A. Clarke Jr.
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