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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Auto notes: Clint Bowyer’s title hopes hit hard by penalties

Clint Bowyer’s slim shot at winning the Sprint Cup championship in Michael Waltrip Racing’s final season took a huge hit Wednesday when NASCAR penalized the team for an infraction in the opening playoff race. NASCAR said the No. 15 team had parts not properly installed on its Toyota in the opening inspection Friday at Chicagoland Speedway. Bowyer was docked 25 points, dropping him to last in the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field.

Matt Kenseth in control at Michigan, wins 3rd Cup race of season

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Matt Kenseth had little to say about how NASCAR’s rules package affected his race at Michigan International Speedway. “I didn’t see much of the race, which was totally fine with me,” he said. “We were up front the whole time.”

Jeff Gordon says Tony Stewart could run strong in Atlanta

Jeff Gordon is expecting Tony Stewart to be a contender in his return to the track. Kevin Harvick will be on the pole but Stewart, who will start 12th, will be in the spotlight in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race tonight ( 4:30, ESPN) at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Stewart is competing for the first time since the sprint car he was driving struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. in an Aug. 9 race in upstate New York. Gordon, impressed by Stewart’s strong practice runs Friday, said Stewart “may make quite a return.” It is the next-to-last race before the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Stewart can make the 16-car Chase field with a win. – AP

Auto Racing notes: Praise for ‘small-town boy’ hit by Stewart’s car

TURIN, N.Y. – Kevin Ward Jr. was remembered as a “small-town boy” who loved his sport during Thursday’s funeral for the 20-year-old dirt-track racer whose car was hit by one driven by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart. More than 700 mourners jammed the South Lewis Senior High School auditorium for the 90-minute service, a mix of tears and cheerful recollections of someone who began racing at a young age.

Auto racing notes: David Gilliland lands pole at Daytona

David Gilliland has won the pole for tonight’s Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway after rain shortened qualifying. Gilliland’s top speed during a hectic, cat-and-mouse qualifying session was 199.322 mph, earning him his third Sprint Cup pole and first since landing the top spot for the 2007 Daytona 500.

Stewart gains confidence at Indianapolis speedway

Tony Stewart seemed to be on a date with destiny in both of his wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where there was an overwhelming sense in 2005 and 2007 that nothing could get in his way in the race to Victory Lane. Even though he seemed to be a lock both of those years, Stewart never allowed himself to think the race was his for the taking. He’d suffered too many heartaches at the Brickyard to assume anything was a given.