Drivers Enjoy Summer Vacation

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With the final weekend break in the 36-race NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series 2007 schedule drivers choose different ways to enjoy their vacation.

Since continuous travel is a fact of life for those involved in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series some drivers are happy to stay close to home.

"You know everybody has these trips planned to go this place and that place," said Kevin Harvick, who will sandwich two team tests around time with wife DeLana. "Man, we go every week. I don't know why you would want to leave home if you had a week off."

Elliott Sadler agrees. He'll visit family and friends in his native southern Virginia, plus swing some golf clubs.

"Vacation to me is sitting at home and not doing anything," Sadler said. "Being a couch potato and swinging the club a little bit – so that is what I'll be doing."

Martin Truex Jr. plans similar, low-key activities.

"I'm not really sure what I'm going do," Truex said. "Just probably relax. Probably the same thing I do all the time. Not much."

On the other hand, some NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers plan to see some distant sites.

Sadler's Evernham Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne is one of them. He'll first indulge in his role as a sprint-car team owner on the World of Outlaws tour this week, then head south to Mexico.

Denny Hamlin, currently second in the series standings, also plans to head south – to Florida.

"I can't wait," he said. "I definitely have some plans to go down to Miami and what not. We're going to have a lot of fun. I've had a blast this past month or so. I've been in a pretty good situation in the points where we can kind of race stress free and it's been a fun time for me."

Reigning series champion Jimmie Johnson will stray further from home – across the Atlantic.

"Chandra and I are going to Europe and just get away from everything," Johnson said of the trip with his wife. "It's time to relax and unwind and spend some time together. As the Chase draws closer, things are going to get more and more hectic so you take every opportunity you can for rest and relaxation."

Some drivers choose to enjoy some much needed family time.

Jeff Gordon will use this week's quiet time to hone his diaper-changing skills. He and wife Ingrid Vandebosch will cozy with newborn daughter Ella Sophia and make some exclusionary trips to visit family and friends.

"I'm going to be changing diapers and just hanging out as dad," Gordon said. "I'm excited and looking forward to it. We're pretty much going to stick around home.

"Towards the end of the off week and before Indianapolis of the off week we are going to be in Charlotte (N.C.) with family and some friends that we haven't had a chance to visit with yet.

"We're doing the family thing. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be fun."

But as some drivers plan to take the time to stay off the race track, other drivers have plans to remain racing.

Seven drivers will participate in Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series event at Gateway International Raceway in St. Louis, Mo. They are J.J. Yeley, Kenny Wallace, David Ragan, Dave Blaney, Carl Edwards and David Reutimann.

Tony Stewart and Ken Schrader will participate in Friday's "Night of the NASCAR Stars III" UMP Modified event at Macon (Ill.) Speedway. Matt Kenseth was scheduled to compete Tuesday night at Slinger (Wis.) Speedway in the 28th annual Miller Lite Nationals.

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