Hot Laps New Hampshire Edition

    It seemed like NASCAR racing was the last thing that was on everyone's minds this weekend in New Hampshire.

    Costs for police protection, moving dates, Danica Patrick, the Indy Car Series and a possible Nationwide Series problem next week at Daytona were the major headlines of the weekend.

    There didn't appear to be any resolution in sight of the impasse between Speedway Motorsports Inc. and the local Loudon, New Hampshire police chief over the cost of law and fire department protection at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

    SMI head Bruton Smith doesn't appear to be backing down on his stance that $65,000 is all he's willing to pay for said services so the talk of NHMS losing a NASCAR weekend continued to swirl.

    While Smith denied the rumors that he was indeed in the planning stages of requesting a date shift - or two - for his portfolio of tracks, NASCAR officials expect a request for realignment to come this week. There is strong speculation that Atlanta and New Hampshire will be reduced to single Sprint Cup stops next year with Kentucky and a second Las Vegas date coming to the schedule.

    The formal announcement of an Indy Car race coming to New Hampshire in 2011 added more fuel to that fire although track officials stressed they are more interested in adding to the speedway's calendar rather than replacing a potential lost NASCAR date.

    Saturday's Nationwide Series race at NHMS saw Kyle Busch continue his romping ways and continued the debate of whether Cup regulars, or more specifically organizations in NASCAR's top division, have a place in the sanctioning body's number two series.

    The split between the haves and have nots might reach epic proportions next week in Daytona when the new generation Nationwide car makes its debut. There are reports of more than 20 cars planning to "start and park" this coming Friday simply lacking the funds to field the new car and pay for the enormous expenses needed to run the machine, while still in the midst of maintaining the current entry for the bulk of the schedule. That could lead to a major black eye for NASCAR next Fourth of July weekend.

    And finally on the Nationwide Series side of the ledger comes the return of Danica Patrick, who didn't add to her legacy by any means with a 30th place finish Saturday at New Hampshire capping a day that included a trip into the wall on lap seven and winding up five laps off the pace.

    The media frenzy around Patrick coming back to stock car racing really didn't slow much since she left for the Indy car wars in March. The "Danica Show" stole most of the spotlight Saturday which at times reached the point of ridiculousness.

    Oh and by the way Jimmie Johnson won the race.

  • Sunday's Sprint Cup race was a snoozer until the closing laps, continuing a trend that we've seen a lot this season. Although the bulk of the race wasn't very riveting, the last 50 laps were eventful to say the least.

  • Not sure if the potential of losing a race was a factor or not but Sunday's crowd was a bit light by New Hampshire standards. On the other hand there were an estimated 80,000 on hand which is still a pretty healthy number.

  • Reed Sorenson did do himself any favors in trying to earn back a full-time Sprint Cup ride in Sunday's first of three starts for Team Red Bull. And you can bet Juan Pablo Montoya won't be sending any Christmas cars this holiday season.

  • One sign of encouragement from the Indy Car side of things over the weekend was IRL CEA Randy Bernard's talk of adding more ovals to the schedule as the return of New Hampshire to the open wheel slate next year will do. Bernard also told reporters he's open to the idea of moving back the Indy 500 start time to 11 a.m. ET in order to allow more drivers to try the Indy-Charlotte double. Encouraging thoughts to say the least.

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NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2010

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