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“There’s nothing we can’t handle on the track,” he said. “I think our performance today is testament to where we’re heading.”

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PHOENIX LOOKING: With Kurt Busch set to bolt Phoenix Racing after next week’s race at Talladega, the team is on the hunt for a replacement driver for the final six races. Team owner James Finch has been talking to drivers, but the team is without major sponsorship, making it a less than attractive option.

“I know James has talked to Regan Smith and a couple of other guys,” crew chief Nick Harrison said. “With no sponsor on the car, we’re looking for a driver who might have a sponsorship opportunity or maybe a chance of getting a driver who might have a sponsor.”

Harrison said the team was committed to running a full season. But the team needs sponsors.

“It’s sad to say that’s what it’s down to, but it is,” he said. “It takes a lot of money to do this and James has spent a lot of money to do it.”

Harrison believed the organization might have been able to keep Busch had it attracted a deep-pocketed sponsor. He said there was still plenty of interest from unemployed drivers looking to gamble that a nice finish on an underfunded team in 2012 could lead to a better ride in 2013.

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DOVER MALAISE: About 90 minutes before the start of the race, Dover posted on Twitter, “Great seats still available at the gate!”

There were plenty of great seats _ and some mostly empty sections _ at the race won by Brad Keselowski.

Dover Motorsports president Denis McGlynn said tough economic times are keeping fans away from the Monster Mile. NASCAR still estimated the attendance at 85,000 and that seemed generous. Dover is trying to combat dwindling crowds by slicing the number of available seats.

Dover has reduced its seating capacity from 135,000 to 122,000 by widening the seats from 18 to 22 inches in several sections. The track will eliminate about 10,000 seats and the track expects to be set at 112,000 seats for next year’s spring race.

“I’m not sure we’ll ever get back to where we were at the end of the `90s and 2000,” McGlynn said. “But we can get way further ahead than where we are today. I think the answer to whether we can get back to that real peak lies in whether we can get another (Dale) Earnhardt-like superstar to emerge. We lost our Tiger Woods when we lost Earnhardt. We have a lot of talented drivers, but nobody has risen up to stand out like he did.”

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B-DAWK: Brian Dawkins served as the grand marshal for the race hours before he had his No. 20 retired by the Philadelphia Eagles.

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