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NASCAR: Racing Notes

Teams get extra days to get ready for new pavement at Michigan, Pocono

Teams will get extra time to figure out the new pavement at the Michigan International Speedway and Pocono Raceway.

Cars will be allowed on the track for an additional two days prior to the Pocono 500 and one extra day before the Helluva Good! 400 at Michigan.

Both tracks were repaved since last year. The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. already has picked tires following a couple test sessions, but NASCAR felt it was necessary for teams to get more time on the track to make adjustments.

Practice will open on Wednesday before the June 10 race at Pocono, and Thursday before the June 17 race at Michigan.

Tony Stewart’s Feed the Children Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway is scheduled for June 6, the opening day of practice at Pocono. Stewart still hopes to have a lot of the top NASCAR drivers at his charity event later that night.

Johnson recovering

Legendary racer Junior Johnson is recovering at Duke University Hospital from staph infection following back surgery.

The 80-year-old former car owner and driver had surgery in 2009 for his back. The infection appeared recently as doctors prepared to install a pacemaker. He’s expected to remain in the hospital until Friday.

Qualifying confusion

Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks generally run qualifying sessions a day before the main event. International Speedway Corp. track do it on Friday, two days before the big race.

NASCAR hopes to get everyone back on the same page next year.

SMI, which includes speedways at Las Vegas, Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Bristol, Tenn., Sonoma, Calif., and Loudon, N.H., believe their policy of having two practice sessions two days in advance of the race works better, while ISC, which includes Daytona Beach, Fla., Homestead, Fla., Talladega, Ala., Martinsville, Va., Richmond, Va., Brooklyn, Mich., Fontana, Calif., Phoenix, Chicago, Kansas City, Watkins Glen. N.Y., and Darlington, S.C., holds one practice in advance of time trials, then two separate sessions on the day before the race.

The sanctioning body hopes to clear up confusion in the future by getting both organizations to use the same schedule.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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