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Sprint Cup series: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch on verge of NASCAR records

NASCAR Bristol Auto Racing
Wade Payne - AP
Driver Kyle Busch (18) waits during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday, March 14, 2014, in Bristol, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

BRISTOL, Tenn. Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are on the verge of reaching significant NASCAR milestones this weekend.

If he can lead at least 140 laps in Sunday’s Food City 500 – something he has done four times previously – Busch will become the 15th driver in Sprint Cup Series history to cross the 10,000 laps led threshold for his career.

“There’s a lot of things that I want to accomplish still that I haven’t,” said Busch, who has five Cup series victories at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Whatever things come along the way that we’re able to accomplish is awesome – it’s fun.

“It means you are a namesake in the sport and that hopefully things continue to go down that path.”

Earnhardt can join an even more exclusive club on Sunday should he finish first or second. Only one other driver in Cup history – Richard Petty, in 1974 – has finished second or higher in the first four races of the season. Earnhardt has finished first, second and second in the first three races.

“Anytime you’ve done anything that Richard has done and you put yourself in the conversation with him to do with any statistic, it’s a pretty awesome accomplishment,” Earnhardt said. “He’s such a fixture in the sport still today.”

Petty museum opens in Level Cross

After moving from downtown Randleman, N.C., to storage and now to its first and original home, the Richard Petty Museum celebrated its grand re-opening Wednesday night at the site of Petty Enterprises in Level Cross, N.C.

The Richard Petty Museum holds memorabilia and personal collections from the most decorated American stock car driver in history. The museum was founded at the race shop in Level Cross in 1988 by Lynda Petty but moved to Randleman in 2003 because of space demands.

With the race operation, Richard Petty Motorsports, now operating in Concord, N.C., it was decided to move the museum back to its original location.

“We’re really showing a lot of history here on the grounds where my daddy built the race team,” Richard Petty said. “It’s something we hope the fans come see, enjoy and tell their friends about.”

NASCAR adjusts rule

NASCAR informed its Nationwide Series teams in a technical bulletin on Friday morning that effective immediately teams will received an additional half-inch tolerance on the postrace minimum front height of the car. The minimum postrace front height moves from 43/4 inches to 41/4 inches.

Chase Elliott’s crew chief, Greg Ives, was placed on probation after Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet was found to be too low in the front after last weekend’s race at Las Vegas.

Two drivers on baby watch

Cup drivers Paul Menard and Matt Kenseth will have standby drivers on hand as both drivers’ wives are expected to give birth at any time. Matt Crafton is in Bristol this weekend for Menard, and Sam Hornish Jr. and Jeff Burton will be on standby, respectively, for Kenseth’s Nationwide and Cup races next weekend in Fontana, Calif.

The baby is the first for Menard and his wife, Jennifer. Kenseth and his wife, Katie, are having their third daughter.

AutoFair returns to Charlotte

The AutoFair, which features nearly 50 car-club displays and more than 1,500 collectible vehicles for sale, returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway next month (April 3-6).

Tickets are $10 for adults and free for children ages 13 and under. For more information, call (800) 455-FANS or visit charlottemotorspeedway.com.

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