- Associated Press - Saturday, September 22, 2012

LOUDON, N.H. (AP) - With a quarter century in NASCAR, Jack Roush has the experience to know when to be patient and when to get more actively involved.

“If I’ve done my job, we’ve got great people at every critical place in either the preparation and mechanical part, our strategic part, and our engineering and planning part,” the Roush Fenway Racing owner said on Saturday in New Hampshire, where he is on a “25 Years of Winning” tour. “So what I try to do is hold court amongst the guys that know they’ve earned their place in this business and break ties.”

Roush Fenway drivers Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth are in the Chase for the Sprint Cup; Carl Edwards is not. Roush said he tries to remain patient during the racing season, but that changes when the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins.

“Whether that winds up being wise or not is to be determined, but I’ve got more experience at my job than anybody else,” he said. “I’ve been at this almost longer than anybody else has. … Most everybody else is junior enough that if there’s something that I’m sure is wrong I should not be patient with right now. I’m trying to pay attention so I can sort out the things that could be a predictable problem.”

Kenseth is 11th in the Chase after finishing 18th in Chicago last week. Biffle is eighth following a 13th-place finish.

“It’s going to be unlikely that anybody in the Chase will not have a bad race. Unfortunately, we got ours in early,” Roush said. “It wasn’t a horrible race. … But it certainly wasn’t on the average of what’s going to be required to win a championship. We’ve taken it apart and dissected it and looked at it very carefully and we think we understand.”


DEFENDING CHAMP: Tony Stewart, who won in New Hampshire last September, got off to an awkward start in practice this weekend when he spun his tires heading onto the track.

“I just got on it too much, and with the track being cold like that I just spun,” he said. “I didn’t spin all the way out, but it’s bad enough I had to go through the grass. I told them, `I didn’t think I would run out of talent in the first five seconds of the session.’”

Stewart went on to qualify third for Sunday’s race, behind pole-sitter Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch, giving him a good chance for another victory at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He has three wins at the track and 14 top-five finishes in 27 starts, so he doesn’t have to worry about being replaced after the minor mishap.

“Not yet,” said Stewart, also the team co-owner. “Well, I don’t know. They were having a meeting a minute ago. If they start changing the seat, I will know.”


HUMANITARIAN AWARD: Rob Eby of Windham, Maine, is going to get a VIP experience as one of four national finalists for the 2012 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, given annually to a NASCAR fan who has had an impact on children in the local community.

Eby will get a pace car ride and garage tour and will meet Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip and Clint Bowyer.

Eby’s chosen charity, Camp Sunshine, will receive $25,000 from The NASCAR Foundation. The national winner, chosen by a fan vote on NASCAR.com/award, will receive $100,000 for his or her charity and be recognized at the awards banquet in Las Vegas in Nov. 30.

Camp Sunshine is a year-round retreat which supports children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

The other finalists are Michael Jackson, of Duluth, Minn.; Ali McDonough, of Wilmington, Del., and Lorri Shealy Unumb, of Lexington, S.C.


UP-AND-COMING: Kyle Larson won the Pro Series East event, his second victory on the circuit.

Larson is one of the drivers in NASCAR’s (hash)Next9 initiative, which consists of the nine drivers 21 years-old and under who are seen as the next generation.

After the race, Larson boarded a helicopter with Tony Stewart to Rossburg, Ohio, to race Sprint cars. Stewart, who is third on the grid for Sunday’s Sprint Cup series race in New Hampshire, owns Eldora Speedway in Ohio.

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