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Expect more squabbling in NASCAR

Sun., Sept. 2, 2012, midnight

Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth have smoothed things over after their helmet-throwing dustup.

Not to worry.

In NASCAR, the next tantrum is usually just around the turn.

Emotions certainly will be running high tonight at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., the next-to-last race before the Chase for the championship begins. Several top drivers – including Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon – are battling just to get into the playoff, so they’ll be on edge during the AdvoCare 500, knowing any major incident could ruin their hopes.

“If you’ve been in racing long enough, you’re going to have some type of disagreement with pretty much everybody you’re competitive with on the track,” Kenseth said. “Some of that stuff is natural.”

While NASCAR doesn’t give the competitors carte blanche to do whatever they want, Stewart wasn’t fined for tossing his helmet at Kenseth after a crash at Bristol last weekend.

That was telling. The governing body has come back around to the idea of letting drivers show their emotions and try to work out any problems among themselves.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. used a late push from runner-up Brad Keselowski to pass Kevin Harvick and win the Nationwide race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

After a restart with three laps to go, Harvick lost the lead on the final lap as his car got loose coming out of Turn 2 and, Stenhouse, who was bumped by Keselowski on the front straightaway, went ahead for good in Turn 3. Harvick had led 157 out of 195 laps.

Stenhouse, the defending series champion, raced to his fourth Nationwide victory of the season, and moved within 12 points of leader Elliott Sadler.

IndyCar Series

Australian Will Power captured the pole in the Grand Prix of Baltimore, a feat that earned him another point in his bid to clinch his first IZOD IndyCar Series championship this weekend.

Power holds a 37-point lead Ryan Hunter-Reay entering today’s race. Power can wrap up the title if he leads by 54 after today.

Formula One

British driver Jenson Button will start today’s Belgian Grand Prix in pole position after finishing fastest in qualifying in Spa.


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