Weekend Racing Notebook

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JOLIET, Ill. - NASCAR sits silent on Saturday as everyone waits out Tropical Storm Hanna.

But there's still plenty of news making headlines around the racing world including here at Chicagoland Speedway as we countdown to Sunday's IRL season finale.

Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves will decide this year's IRL crown in Sunday's Peak Antifreeze 300. Six-time series winner Dixon has a 30 point lead on Castroneves but isn't taking anything for granted.

"I keep joking with him, `I don’t wish you any bad luck or anything, I just wish you less luck than me,”’ Dixon laughed referring to his battle with Castroneves. “The good news is Scott respects me the way I respect him. This is a good and healthy competition and I think we’re in a great position to win the championship.”

Castroneves has dug into Dixon's lead, which stood at 78 point about a month ago, with a string of good finishes to give him a shot at this year's championship.

"These guys will tell you, I never lost faith,” Castroneves said of his Team Penske teammates. “I told them if there is a chance, we’re going to go after it. In the beginning of this year, they had all the momentum and everything good was happening to them. Nowwe have the momentum.”

2009 SCHEDULE APPLAUDED
The first full year of the open wheel post-merger schedule is receiving good reviews from many drivers and teams. Next year's date swap at Chicagoland, which moves the race under the lights in a late-August doubleheader with the NASCAR truck series, has been hailed as a wise move.

"There are so many things to compete with in Chicago most every weekend of the summer," said Danica Patrick, racing in her homestate of Illinois. "Getting to race before school starts, not competing with the NFL and in prime time will be great and I think it will make this weekend even better."

TEAM RED BULL GROWING
ARCA driver Scott Speed may wind up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full-time next year without costing either Brian Vickers or A.J. Allmendinger a seat. There are signs Team Red Bull will expand to a three-car Cup effort in 2009. Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has indicated he is ready for the expansion and Speed will test a Cup car at Lowe's Motor Speedway in a few weeks.

CARPENTIER FINDS A RIDE?
Reed Sorenson's addition to Gillett Evernham Motorsports may have cost Patrick Carpentier a seat with the team but his NASCAR career could still be on. Carpentier is rumored to be a candidate for the Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 ride in 2009. "I haven’t talked to anyone and I don’t plan on talking to anyone until I get my cars working better,” Eddie Wood told the Winston-Salem Journal. “But I do like Patrick.”

LOGANO DEBUT PUSHED BACK
Tropical Storm Hanna washed out Joey Logano's plans to make his Sprint Cup Series debut at Richmond this weekend but the Joe Gibbs racing driver won't have to wait long for another shot. Reports have JGR fielding the No. 02 Toyota Logano planned to run at Richmond this weekend at New Hampshire next weekend. Logano is slated to pilot the Hall of Fame Racing No. 96 next week but that schedule may change.

ASA NATIONAL TOUR RISES AGAIN?
The short track scene may get back one of the more prestigious names in its history next season with the return of the ASA National Tour. Several sources are reporting talks to bring the asphalt touring late model stock car series back in 2009 are taking place. Whether it's a spin-off of the successful ASA Midwest Series or a new entity is unknown. RacingOne will contact ASA Racing and follow up on this story in the coming week.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2008

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