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Coca-Cola 600 won't use All-Star setup

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) Charlotte Motor Speedway President Marcus Smith learned a long time ago from NASCAR Hall of Fame father Bruton Smith not to be afraid to try "new and crazy" things when it comes to auto racing.

That's why the younger Smith lobbied NASCAR hard to use the same rules package for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 that was experimented with in the All-Star race. Even though Kevin Harvick led the final 11 laps and rolled to his third consecutive win this season in the $1 million shootout, the restrictor plates created a tighter field and improved on-track action. Read More...

Gordon, Roush, Penske headline HOF class

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Jeff Gordon didn't give much thought to NASCAR while racing sprint cars in Indiana as a teenager.

He was too busy trying to get into open wheel racing. Read More...

Patrick named first woman to host ESPYS

LOS ANGELES (AP) Danica Patrick has lined up her first post-retirement gig: hosting The ESPYS.

She will preside over the show honoring the past year's top athletes and moments in sports on July 18. The show airs live on ABC from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Read More...

Patrick gets Lego statue in Times Square

NEW YORK (AP) When Danica Patrick drives her final race in the Indy 500 on Sunday, she'll certainly be the only competitor with a Lego statue in her image.

While that won't help her win IndyCar's biggest race, it does speak to Patrick's popularity. Maybe she wasn't a rousing success behind the wheel in open wheels or NASCAR, but she has made an impact that reaches far beyond the ovals and road courses she raced. Read More...

Rising Ford aims to end Coke 600 drought

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) It's been 16 years since Mark Martin won the Coca-Cola 600, and a Ford driver has not been to victory lane for the marquee event since. A Ford driver hasn't hoisted a Cup championship trophy since 2004, either.

There have been some highlights during this past decade of mediocrity, but coming up empty every year in the chase for NASCAR's biggest prize got very tiring to the Ford group. Read More...

Changes add competition at All-Star race

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) Something had to be done to NASCAR's annual All-Star race, which had stopped being special years ago. A bunch of drivers circled around Charlotte Motor Speedway in cars too difficult to pass for the lead, so whoever had the clean air raced to an easy $1 million prize.

It was terrible racing and everybody knew it. Read More...

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