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Publication: NASCAR News
Injury keeps Petty out

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          NASCAR NEWS - Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dear Readers: 

Today I want to welcome those that have come over from the 
Wrestling News Today newsletter. Now with NASCAR News you 
get the latest stories about your favorite drivers, speed-
ways and races. 

NASCAR News is your weekly pit stop to the world of NASCAR 

Thanks for reading. 

Your Editor 


Injury keeps Petty out; Wallace to drive at Bristol
By Team Release

LEVEL CROSS, N.C. - Kenny Wallace will fill in for Kyle 
Petty in the No. 45 Dodge in Saturday night's Sharpie 
500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Petty's broken hand again 
will keep him out of the driver's seat for the second 
consecutive week. Petty is hopeful to return to the car 
at the California Speedway 

Wallace will be making his 20th Cup start at Bristol this 
weekend. He has two top-10 finishes at the track and one 
pole. Wallace also has a Busch Series win at the track. 

"I look at this from two ways," Wallace said. "First, I 
feel terrible that Kyle can't drive this weekend. I know 
he was very determined to get back behind the wheel at 
Bristol. Everyone is feeling good that he'll be back in 
California, but I know he wants to race this weekend. 

"Secondly, it's an honor that Kyle and Wells Fargo are 
letting me fill in for him. Racing is what we all love to 
do. I know Kyle wants to be racing at Bristol. I'm going 
to give this car the best ride I can." 

Wallace made 10 starts this year for Furniture Row Racing. 
The team announced Aug. 14 that Wallace had stepped down 
as the driver of No. 78 car. 

Team officials said that Wallace would remain with the 
team as a consultant and will be called upon to run races 
as needed, but that he also will be available to drive for 
another team. 

Sterling Marlin will drive the No. 78 Chevrolet this 
weekend at Bristol. 

Petty is still recovering from a broken hand suffered at 
Watkins Glen International. Petty had successful surgery 
on the hand and it continues to heal. 

"It's disappointing not to be able to race at Bristol," 
Petty said. "I had every intention of getting back at 
Bristol, but I have to let the hand heal. You can't rush 
this along. 

"Kenny is a good friend and a talented driver. I'm 
confident that he'll do a great job for our team and 
sponsors this weekend." 


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Earnhardt gains positions, but keeps losing ground
By David Caraviello, NASCAR.COM

BROOKLYN, Mich. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. spent all day trying 
to make up ground, picking off one position after another 
in a race where a swapped-out transmission doomed him to 
start at the back. But at the end of a wet, extended 
weekend at Michigan International Speedway, NASCAR's most 
popular driver found himself staring up a deficit even 
larger than the one he faced coming in. 

The difficulty of Earnhardt's bid to make the year-end 
Chase for the Nextel Cup crystallized Tuesday, when the 
driver of the No. 8 car overcame a pit-road miscue to 
finish 11th in the 3M Performance 400, moved up one 
position in the standings -- and still lost ground. 
Earnhardt came to Michigan 14th in points, 100 behind 
Kurt Busch for the 12th and final Chase berth. He left 
soggy Brooklyn in 13th place but 163 points out, and 
with his situation appearing more ominous as the final 
weeks of the regular season wind down. 

He's getting no help from Busch, who kept the pressure on 
Tuesday by winning his second race in three weeks, and 
extending a late push that's seen him finish 11th or better 
in each of the last six starts. To avoid missing the Chase 
for the second time in three years, Earnhardt now has to 
knock an average of 54 points off Busch's advantage over 
the next three events. Over his last three, he's lost an 
average of 65 points to the Penske Racing driver. 

continued below... 


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"No, it's not frustrating," Earnhardt said. "When they beat 
you fair, you can't get frustrated about that. They did 
what they had to do. They've got a great feel going right 
now. They're really quick. When you get beat fair like 
that, you can't be frustrated. You have to take it like a 
man. We'll just go on and go next week." 

Earnhardt struggled with handling at times Tuesday, 
slapping the wall at one point -- "Whoa, my quarterpanel! 
I just knocked the fence down!" he screamed over the radio 
-- but overall recovered quickly from the transmission 
change and was in the top 10 by Lap 70. He led the race 
briefly for one lap, and was solidly in the top five when 
he overran his pit stall on a green-flag stop with 32 laps 

"I was watching the 66 [of Jeff Green] who was in his 
stall. I thought I pitted past him, but I was two stalls 
before him," Earnhardt said. " When you come down pit road, 
and guys are anywhere near your stall, you look at whether 
they're jacked up on the left, because if they drop and 
pull out you're going to have a crash, and I don't want to 
do that. I was just looking at that, and I drove right by 
my pit. My fault, totally." 

Earnhardt fell to eighth, slid to 15th after he was pinned 
behind traffic following a pit stop where some drivers 
stayed out, and never again threatened. That was left to 
Dale Earnhardt Inc. teammate Martin Truex Jr., trying to 
fight for the race victory and hang on to his spot inside 
the Chase at the same time. His runner-up finish helped 
him stay in 11th place in the standings, but Busch still 
carved a healthy 25 points out of his lead. 

"It's kind of odd," Truex said. "You think second is a good 
day, but the guy you're racing is finishing ahead of you. 
It's just like Pocono, when Junior finished second to Kurt. 
The 2 is on their game plan right now, and for sure we 
can't afford any mistakes." 

The No. 2 team isn't giving them any option. Ten races ago, 
after a crash at Charlotte and getting parked and saddled 
with a 100-point penalty for nearly running over one of 
Tony Stewart's crewmen at Dover, Busch was 17th in points. 
Pat Tryson was installed as crew chief three weeks later, 
bringing with him a patient plan that has his squad on the 
brink of a playoff berth. 

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"Our plan has been all along, from when we started eight 
races or so ago, to try to get 20 points on everybody 
around us every week. Around us, in front of us," said 
Tryson, who started this season as Greg Biffle's crew 
chief at Roush Fenway Racing. "I think that's how we still 
have to look at it. It's easy to lose 90 points in one day. 
You can break a motor, you can get caught up in a mess. I 
think we just need to keep doing what we're doing, trying 
to get 20 on everybody around us every week. We do that, 
we'll be in good shape." 

Another good sign Saturday night brings the annual stop 
at Bristol Motor Speedway, where Busch has won five times. 
Entering that race, Jeff Gordon and Denny Hamlin are locked 
into the Chase, while Matt Kenseth can clinch just by 
starting the final three events. Yet the points leader 
continues to have good cars and little to show for them; 
last week at Watkins Glen he led until overrunning the 
first turn with two laps remaining, while Tuesday he was 
among the leaders until he slid up into Kenseth and into 
the boggy infield grass with 10 to go. 

"Hey, I want my bad luck to come right now," said Gordon, 
who finished 27th. "I want all the good luck we can get 
[in the Chase]. Every time we're out there, we're learning 
something. I had a fast racecar today. I'm happy about 
that. Good pit stops. And we weren't going to get the 
10 bonus points we were looking for today anyway, because 
the 2 car was too strong." 

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