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GALLERY: The Week’s 10 Biggest NASCAR News Stories

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Once again, there is no Friday on-track activity for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, which this weekend is at Watkins Glen International for Sunday’s I Love NY 355 at the Glen, the 22nd of 26 races in the Cup regular season.

There will be two rounds of Cup practice on Saturday at the Glen — 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. — with qualifying Sunday at 12:05 p.m., followed by the race at 3 p.m.

But this week has been anything but quiet, with a lot of news happening over the last five days.  In case you missed it, here are the week’s 10 biggest news stories.

  1. Sponsor news

On the plus side of the ledger, ExxonMobil has signed a new deal for Mobil 1 to continue as “The Official Motor Oil of NASCAR.” Less happy was the news that longtime Chip Ganassi Racing sponsor Target is leaving the team and NASCAR.

  1. Logan Lucky

Tuesday night in Charlotte, the NASCAR community got to see an advance screening of the new Steven Soderbergh film “Logan Lucky,” which features cameos by Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. The film has gotten a lot of  positive advance buzz.

  1. Said saying so long

Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International will be the final Cup appearance for Boris Said, who possesses both phenomenal road-racing skills and a huge Brillo-like shock of hair. Said has 53 career Cup starts, with his best finishes being fourth at Sonoma in 2005 and fourth in the July Daytona race a year later.

  1. SHR doesn’t pick up Kurt Busch’s option

Stewart-Haas Racing said on Twitter that it expects Kurt Busch to return to the cockpit of the No. 41 SHR Ford next year. But the team declined to pick up his 2018 option, which means he is a free agent right now.

  1. Ricky Hendrick remembered

Photo Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports

Of all the throwback paint schemes for the upcoming Darlington Labor Day weekend, the most emotional one might be the one William Byron will carry in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at The Track Too Tough To Tame. There, Byron’s JR Motorsports Chevrolet will have a paint scheme similar to the one the late Ricky Hendrick ran in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2001.

  1. Crew chief suspended

Chris Gayle, crew chief of the Furniture Row Racing No. 77 Toyota driven by rookie  Erik Jones, has been suspended by NASCAR for the next two races and fined $50,000 for a rear-gear violation discovered after Sunday’s Overton’s 400 at Pocono Raceway.  As part of the penalty, the team also lost 25 owner and driver points. There will be no appeal.

  1. NASCAR moves the overtime line

Effective immediately, NASCAR has decided to relocate the overtime line at all tracks to the start-finish line, which should eliminate a lot of confusion. Once the leader crosses the finish line to take the white, the next flag ends the race.

  1. Harry Scott passes

Photo Courtesy of NASCAR

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family of longtime NASCAR team owner Harry Scott, who died Wednesday at the age of 51. The cause of death was not revealed. Scott won four K&N Pro Series East championships as a co-owner and at various times fielded teams in NASCAR’s top three touring series.

  1. Cup drivers limited in lower series

NASCAR on Tuesday cut the participation of Monster Energy Cup Series regulars in the NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series. Drivers with more than five years of full-time experience in the Cup Series will be limited to seven XFINITY races in the s and five Truck Series races.  No  driver racing for Cup points will be able to compete in the regular season finale and playoff races in each series, as well as the Dash 4 Cash (XFINITY) races.

  1. Junior’s last ride

Photo Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports

For the final Cup race of his career, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet will carry the black-over-red colors from his 1999 Cup debut during this year’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It’s an awesome look, harkening back to when Earnhardt drove the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet.

All article photos courtesy of Nigel Kinrade Photography © 2017 unless otherwise noted

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Tom Jensen is a veteran motorsports journalist. He spent 13 years with, where he was Digital Content Manager. Previously, he was executive editor of NASCAR Scene and managing editor of National Speed Sport News. Jensen served as the president of the National Motorsports Press Association and is the group’s former Writer of the Year.