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Bowyer’s sponsor returning in 2014

By Jim Utter

DOVER, Del. Michael Waltrip Racing got some much-needed good news on Friday.

The sponsor for Clint Bowyer’s Cup team, 5-Hour Energy, announced it would remain with MWR’s No. 15 team through the 2014 season. The company originally said it would wait until the end of the season to decided if it would return.

“There are scores of passionate fans, numerous charitable organizations, and hundreds of hard-working MWR employees and their families who are directly impacted by 5-hour Energy’s NASCAR sponsorship,” said Melissa Skabich, communications director for 5-Hour Energy.

“We look forward to another great year of competitive racing.”

NAPA Auto Parts elected to leave MWR at season’s end following the organization’s participation in an effort to manipulate the outcome of the Sept. 7 race at Richmond, Va.

Additional drying systems: If NASCAR has its way, all tracks will be dried faster next season on rainy days.

Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Thursday that he believes the new Air Titan track drying system should be at “100 percent” of race tracks in 2014.

The new system was highly touted to start this year but has only been used at a handful of tracks, mostly because of the cost associated with renting it.

“I believe that you’ll see that at 100 percent of the race tracks next year and, if not, we may miss one or two. But our guys are after it, race tracks are wanting it, the fans need it, the drivers are appreciating it,” Pemberton said.

“It’s a big undertaking but I will tell you this, everybody from the top on down in our company, this has been all but priority one for over a year now.”

Scott hopes to expand Cup schedule: Brian Scott plans to make his Cup series debut at next month at Charlotte Motor Speedway and he hopes to be able to expand his Cup participation in 2014.

Scott said he expects to run another full-time Nationwide Series schedule next season with Richard Childress Racing as well up to five Cup races.

Daytona testing set: Preseason Thunder, the annual testing session at Daytona International Speedway featuring the Sprint Cup Series, will expand in 2014 with the addition of test dates for both the Nationwide and Truck series.

Cup series teams will test on Jan. 9 and 10. The Nationwide Series will test on Jan. 11 and 12. The Truck Series will wrap up Preseason Thunder on Jan. 13 and 14. It’s the first time since 2008 that teams from the two lesser series have participated in January testing sessions at Daytona.

Busch best of quarter: Kyle Busch has been voted the third-quarter winner of the Driver of the Year award.

Busch, 28, was a winner in all three of NASCAR’s top national series over the summer. He had two wins in Cup, three in Nationwide and one in Trucks.

He beat out sprint car driver Donny Schatz for the award, which is voted upon by a panel of journalists and broadcasters.

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