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Richard Childress, Roger Penske want NASCAR to run All-Star package again

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CONCORD, N.C. — Hall of Fame car owners Richard Childress and Roger Penske want NASCAR to run the package used in last week’s All-Star Race again this season.

Because of the charter agreement between NASCAR and teams, any significant mid-season rule change (other than for safety) would have to be approved by car owners. Childress said he would vote to approve it.

“Anything that is good for our sport right now, which I think it would be, I’m for it,’’ Childress told NBC Sports on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I’m putting RCR aside and looking at the sport itself. If everybody in this garage will do that … put the sport first and we all go out and put the best show for the fans in the stands, that’s what we’ve got to do.’’

MORE: Momentum building from some drivers to run All-Star package again

Penske, speaking to the media Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway said he enjoyed last weekend’s All-Star Race.

“I thought it was terrific,’’ Penske said “Nobody could get away.

“Directionally, I think it’s the right thing to do. What I like about it is we’re trying something.’’

Where should this package run?

“I’d like to see us maybe run (Indianapolis) and somebody talked about running it at Michigan,” Penske said.

Childress, told of Penske’s recommendation on where to run the package, said: “That would be a good starting place, either one of them.’’

The Xfinity Series will run a similar package at Pocono (June 2), Michigan (June 9) and Indianapolis (Sept. 8).

Richie Gilmore, president of ECR Engines, told NBC Sports that engine suppliers plan to meet with NASCAR officials next week to discuss options to run the package this season.

“One of the challenges we have is our engines are already built three weeks in advance,’’ Gilmore said. “The Michigan and Pocono engines are already in the cars, given out to the teams. It’s a little bit more of a challenge this year because we have the sealed engine rule (teams must run a sealed engine in two races). So we already have our schedules laid out in advance.’’

Gilmore says the engine builders are in support of running the package again this year.

“We all do believe this is something healthy for the sport,’’ Gilmore said.

Gilmore said the engine builders have talked about running this package at Michigan in August and then four weeks later at Indianapolis in September. That would allow teams to use the same engines in both events. 

“I think that’s the feedback we’re going to talk about next week,” Gilmore said of the meeting with NASCAR. “Where is the best place to do this, as far as scheduling. I think we all feel this is something we can do as far as reliability. I think the next thing is just scheduling.’’

Gilmore said the engine builders “could react” to whatever races NASCAR decides to run the package.

“I think we went into the meeting (NASCAR had with team officials, engine builders and drivers Wednesday) thinking maybe it was possible for the 600, so we all kind of had a plan. It would be better, I think, for us to react to the second go around at Michigan and those races but we could make it happen (earlier) if we need to.’’

Nate Ryan contributed from Indianapolis

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Elliott Sadler announces end of full-time NASCAR career after 2018

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Elliott Sadler announced in a statement on Twitter Wednesday morning he has decided to make 2018 his final full-time season in NASCAR competition.

Sadler, who turned 43 in April, made the announcement with 12 races left in the Xfinity Series.

The news comes after the JR Motorsports driver revealed in June that his primary sponsor, OneMain Financial, wouldn’t return in the same capacity next season.

Sadler has competed in NASCAR since making his Xfinity Series debut in 1995 at South Boston Speedway.

Since then he’s made 841 starts across all three national series.

In 12 full-time seasons in Cup, he earned three wins, 19 top fives and eight poles. He best point result was ninth in 2004.

This year is his 10th full-time Xfinity season. To date he’s earned 13 wins, 102 top fives and 18 poles in 383 starts.

Sadler will attempt to close out his full-time career with his first NASCAR championship. He’s placed second four times, including the previous two seasons spent with JRM.

With 12 races left he is second in the point standings and sixth on the playoff grid.

Read his statement below.

NASCAR America: Jeff Burton, Kyle Petty on criticism of Kyle Larson’s love of dirt racing

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In January, Kyle Larson caused a minor stir when he admitted that winning midget racing’s Chili Bowl would be a bigger deal for him than a victory in the Daytona 500.

The fallout of that statement was on hand last weekend at Michigan International Speedway on the eve of the Knoxville Nationals, one of sprint racing’s biggest events.

Larson claimed he was going to “just keep my mouth shut” about any potential success about the event held the Saturday night before the Cup race at Michigan.

On NASCAR America, Jeff Burton, Kyle Petty and Carolyn Manno had a lengthy discussion about Larson’s comments and whether drivers in a premier auto racing series should compete in other disciplines.

“I was a little offended for him saying the Chili Bowl was bigger than NASCAR’s biggest race,” Burton conceded. “But when I step back, me personally, I think the Southern 500 is the biggest race of the year. That’s no disrespect to the Daytona 500. I never won the Daytona 500. If you ask me which race do I wish I would have won, that’s the one because it’s so prestigious and it means so much. … I think when you are racing and this is your primary racing … and then you say there’s another series you’d rather win a race in, I think some NASCAR fans did get offended by it and to be honest I understand why.”

Burton added, “He’s still here. If he didn’t want to do it, he wouldn’t be doing it.”

Petty believes friction over Larson’s love of dirt racing stems from the collision of generations of fans and fans of different racing disciplines.

“You see guys coming in who dreamed of going to (Indianapolis Motor Speedway), that dreamed of running sprint cars, that dreamed of doing some totally different,” Petty said. “Where I grew up dreaming of the Daytona 500. That’s been in our blood and that’s in the DNA of what this sport is. You expect, as a fan, your driver to come in and say, ‘Tell you what, the Daytona 500, Darlington, the Coca-Cola 600, those are races I want to win.’ So I think we have a bias, or the fans have a bias sometimes, against the guy that didn’t come in and dream about being here all the time and I think that’s wrong. Because at heart, Kyle Larson is a racer. At heart, Tony Stewart, he didn’t dream about coming to Daytona, he dreamed about going down the road and winning at Indianapolis. Jeff Gordon did the same thing.”

Watch the above video for more.

NASCAR America: Scan All from Michigan International Speedway

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It was another Cup race and another win for Kevin Harvick Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver scored his series leading seventh win of the season after sweeping each stage.

Relive the race with the latest edition of Scan All from NASCAR America.

Here are some highlights.

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PRN reporter Wendy Venturini to return at Bristol, still recovering from injuries

Wendy Venturini
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Wendy Venturini will return to her duties at the Performance Racing Network this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, almost two months after being struck by a car while running in Novato, California.

Venturini made the announcement in a surprise appearance Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint.”

She had been in California to be a pit reporter for PRN’s radio broadcast of the Cup race at Sonoma Raceway.

Among the injuries Venturini suffered in the incident were a skull fracture and a concussion.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Venturini said of the upcoming race weekend. “It’s been a long two months and I’m not 100 percent, but I’m getting closer and closer and this is step back into real life and real world stuff. So I think it will help in my recovery.”

Venturini is still wearing a knee brace.

“I’m still pretty slow these days, but it’s good,” Venturini said. “I will have a brace on at the race track in a controlled circumstance. I can take it off at night, at home. … It’s healing. My LCL is healing, my brain is healing, my skull is healing. Everything’s taking progress.”

Venturini became the first female to serve as a co-anchor for a NASCAR Cup race in September 2014 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. She also has served as a booth analyst for PRN broadcasts this season.

Venturini became the first female broadcaster to call an entire race on a national level during the July 2007 Cup race at Sonoma Raceway for DirecTV. She also has reported on NASCAR for Speed Channel and Fox Sports 1.