France: NASCAR studying ways to improve racing

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Stewart insisted there’s a value in sponsoring race teams to any company.

“All you have to do is turn around and look in all these garage stalls _ there are a lot of Fortune 500 companies that realize the value of this sport and realize the marketing value to it,” Stewart said.

“I think the U.S. Army and the National Guard have seen that value as well. They are not in the habit of spending money to spend money. I think they see the value in it, whether legislature understands that or not, they may not be familiar with all the things and how it benefits those programs.”

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BOWYER WINS BURNOUT CHALLENGE: It took five years, but Clint Bowyer finally won the fifth annual Burnout Challenge.

Fans voted for the top two burnouts before a panel of three celebrity judges voted Bowyer the winner. The judges were Miss Sprint Cup Jaclyn Roney; Colby Donaldson, a veteran of television’s “Survivor” and Kim Spradlin, 2012 winner of the “Survivor.”

“I can’t believe they let us come out here and tear these things up a little bit,” Bowyer said. “That’s pretty hard on equipment. Who would have ever thought that all of those years of snow-packed parking lots back in the Midwest would have ever paid off at a burnout contest at Charlotte in a competition at the All-Star race.

“That’s how I won this, a lot of years under the radar in parking lots doing doughnuts! I was watching Kasey (Kahne) and we were all talking about how to get the car in second gear, because that is where you get the most smoke. I got the car in a drift and got it in second gear a little quicker than the other guys, and I think that was what gave us the most smoke.”

Bowyer is donating the $10,000 first place check to his charity _ the Employee Community Foundation in his hometown of Emporia, Kan.

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DANICA’S IMPACT ON NASCAR: Danica Patrick has brought more visibility to the sport _ not that NASCAR Chairman Brian France expected anything different.

But France said Patrick’s true impact at stock car’s top level won’t be known for some time.

“That will be determined by how well she competes and that is what will determine the impact at the end,” France said. “Nobody knows that better than she does… Most importantly, I think she’s made improvements and that was her stated goal and she’s getting better and better.”

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GROW ONE, SAVE A MILLION: If Kevin Harvick starts looking a little scruffy in coming weeks, forgive him. He’s doing it for a good cause. Harvick and his crew pledged not to shave as part of Budweiser’s “Grow One. Save a Million” program, which is designed to help save one million gallons of water for World Environment Day on June 5.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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