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“Chip has made a massive financial contribution to have the engines and to help the team,” McMurray said. “I’m happy for him because I know he’s put a lot into this, and it’s great that both cars are finally good.”

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X GAMES To CHARLOTTE?: The city of Charlotte has been named a finalist to host three years of the summer version of the X Games beginning in 2014, which Charlotte Motor Speedway is viewing as a massive opportunity for its facility.

If Charlotte’s bid is selected, the speedway in Concord would host a majority of the action sports competitions which range from skateboarding and BMX to Rally Car and Moto X.

“We’re honored to be one of four finalists in consideration to host the X Games in 2014 and beyond,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of the track. “In many respects, Charlotte Motor Speedway was one of the original action sports venues, having hosted world-class NASCAR and NHRA events that have drawn the attention of international audiences for more than 50 years.”

The other cities under consideration for the three-year contract with ESPN are Austin, Texas, Chicago and Detroit.

The Summer X Games were first held in Rhode Island in 1995, and ESPN added the Winter X Games two years later.

“These events combine extreme action sports entertainment with the ESPN brand for more than 100,000 fans on site and tens of millions watching worldwide,” Smith said. “Like the annual running of our NASCAR races or last year’s Democratic National Convention, the X Games would bring a tremendous spotlight to the greater Charlotte region and the great state of North Carolina.”

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NHRA PARITY: The NHRA Funny Car category is off to one of its most competitive seasons in memory with five different winners in six races.

Still, it’s been two-time world champ Cruz Pedregon who has stood out as he’s been both driver and crew chief for his Toyota Camry that’s raced to victories at Las Vegas and Houston. He’s first in the standings, which marks the first time since his brother, Tony, held the lead in Sept. 2009 that a driver who is not a part of John Force Racing or Don Schumacher Racing has led the points standings _ a span of 78 events.

“It’s a by-product of what we’re doing and it’s an honor and a nice feather in the cap,” said Pedregon. “It’s still early and there’s some guys grouped together pretty tightly (in the points), but we’ll take it. It’s a credit to the team and what we’ve been able to accomplish. We have a little momentum going and that’s important.”

Pedregon next races at the NHRA Southern Nationals this weekend at Atlanta Dragway. The last time Cruz held the series lead was at the end of the 2008 season, when he won the second of his two world championship crowns.