Rare weekend off for Sprint Cup drivers

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NASCAR's Sprint Cup series has a rare weekend off, returning to action next weekend for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. However, both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series are in action this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. The Izod IndyCar series is at Edmonton, Formula 1 is at Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix, and locally Fernley 95A Speedway has a full racing program tonight starting at 6 pm.


Lots of people have been clamoring for bipartisanship in Washington, but it's not always a good thing. A bipartisan House bill to cut military spending on sports sponsorships, sponsored by a Republican, Jack Kingston of Georgia, and a Democrat, Betty McCollum of Minnesota, came up for a vote last week. Fortunately for several NASCAR, IndyCar, and NHRA teams, as well as other major sports leagues, it was defeated by a 216-202 margin. House members speaking out against the ban noted that if sports sponsorships didn't work, Fortune 500 companies wouldn't use them as a marketing tool. Apparently Congress can get something right occasionally.


Although Sprint Cup is off this weekend, there has been plenty of off-track activity. The biggest story is the replacement of Bob Osborne as crew chief for Carl Edwards at Roush Fenway Racing. After losing the championship in a tie-breaker last year, the team has struggled this season. Chad Norris will move over from the R&D slot to take over Osborne's duties on the pit box, while Osborne is being bumped upstairs to the organization's overall management team. Osborne cited health issues as his reason for stepping down, and I can imagine that the pressure cooker he's been in could well have a negative effect on his health.


In other Roush Fenway news, team owner Jack Roush's comment about Matt Kenseth "going to the dark side" all but confirmed that Kenseth will be going to a Toyota team, most likely Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth is still keeping mum on the issue. And A.J. Allmendinger's follow-up B sample drug test is scheduled for July 24. In the event that the B sample shows the same positive results, Allmendinger will have to complete a NASCAR-mandated rehab program before being reinstated. Allmendinger firmly maintains that he has never knowingly taken a prohibited substance, and is having all his over-the-counter supplements and medications tested.


Ryan Hunter-Reay is looking for his fourth consecutive IndyCar series win at Edmonton this weekend in his Andretti Autosport Dallara. He currently holds the points lead, 34 ahead of Penske Racing driver Will Power. Unless one or both of those two drivers stumble badly in the remaining five races, it looks like a two-horse race for the 2012 IndyCar championship. Power is the acknowledged master of road and street courses, but Hunter-Reay has some serious talent on those types of track as well.


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