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News from the track: Watkins Glen International

From The Marbles

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Doesn't matter if it's in black or white or every color of the rainbow, Tony Stewart is good at Watkins Glen, site of this weekend's Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen. We'll find out just how good when practice kicks off at noon ET. Stick with us here all day as we'll bring the news to you as it happens.

Here are a few notes to get us started:

AJ Allmendinger will announce his re-signing with Richard Petty Motorsports at 10 a.m. ET.

• There are two practices Friday, the first at noon ET, the second at 4 p.m. ET.

• Qualifying isn't until Saturday at 11 a.m. ET.

Boris Said will be driving the No. 83 Red Bull car.

AJ Allmendinger formally announces he's re-siging with RPM:

• Allmendinger has formally announced he's staying at RPM because "they gave the answers we needed to hear that this is a stable place." A lot of it, Allmendinger said, has to do with Ford's support of RPM.

• Regarding the future of RPM, which as of now only has Allmendinger signed for 2011, Foster Gillett, managing partner of RPM, said, "We have a lot more good news coming as an organization. ... We look forward to rolling that out in the future."

• Richard Petty echoed his thought. "We've got some announcements in our pocket."

• Gillett wouldn't say how many teams they will have next season, nor would he elaborate on his sponsor lineup.

Bowyer says Kentucky Motor Speedway deserves a Cup date:

Clint Bowyer said that whenever they go to Kentucky Motor Speedway for a Nationwide race it's a packed house. "I can't imagine what it would be for a Cup race," he said.

Kentucky is expected to host a Cup race in 2011, taking one of two dates from Atlanta.

Harvick: If tracks don't sell out, they don't deserve a Cup date:

Kevin Harvick on the potential schedule changes: "Sometimes things become stale. ... If a market is stale, we have to go somewhere where the grandstands are full. ... If it's not sold out, you need to be held accountable as a race track."

Watkins Glen gets safer:

• Harvick says the removal of the sand trap at Watkins Glen will change the strategy of Sunday's race. Fuel-mileage gambling will be different, he said, because there won't be cars getting stuck in the sand trap, which always took a lot of time - and caution laps -- to drag cars out.

Edwards would like to see 36 different tracks:

Carl Edwards said ideally he'd like to see the Cup schedule go to 36 different tracks. He knows there are logistics that would get in the way of that happening, but that's what he'd like to see.

Roush on the mend:

• Edwards saw Jack Roush on Thursday and said, "Jack is really, really good. He's a lot better than I expected."

Who's the man to beat?

• Edwards says Marcos Ambrose is the driver to beat this weekend.

11:40: That's the end of morning press conferences. Next up is the first of two practices, which begins at noon ET.

Practice updates:

Jimmie Johnson spun out just a few minutes into the first practice. Johnson barely nudged the inside retaining wall, which means he probably won't be going to a backup car.

• Surprise of the day so far, Greg Biffle is fastest on the speed chart. He's followed by ... Denny Hamlin?

• With his wife expecting their second child, Jeff Gordon has Scott Pruett on standby just in case Ingrid Gordon goes into labor this weekend.

"I think honestly, Scott could do better in the car than I could, to be honest with you," Gordon said. "We certainly aren't planning to use him for the race, but it is very comforting if something were to happen where we needed him."

• It's been a rough day for Brad Keselowski. He's already spun, and now it looks like he's blown his engine.

• First practice is over. Here is the top 10 on the speed chart: Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Paul Menard, Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcos Ambrose, AJ Allmendinger, Ron Fellows and Carl Edwards.

Other notables:

• Clint Bowyer, in a battle with Mark Martin to make the Chase, was 14th. Martin was 25th.

• Hendrick Motorsports is nowhere to be found right now. They are 25th (Martin), 29th (Jimmie Johnson), 30th (Jeff Gordon) and 38th (Dale Earnhardt Jr.)

Gordon no longer a road course favorite:

• Remember when Jeff Gordon was a favorite to win at a road course? Not anymore. When asked who the favorites are this weekend, aside from him, Tony Stewart said Marcos Ambrose, Juan Pablo Montoya and Gordon -- Robby Gordon.

There's a reason for the other Gordon being omitted -- Jeff Gordon hasn't won a road race since 2006 and hasn't won at Watkins Glen since 2001.

Roush Fenway teammates leaving Kenseth behind:

• Greg Biffle said that it's surprising that Matt Kenseth's results haven't improved like his and Carl Edwards'. The improvement, in the team, Biffle said, is in the handling, and considering he and Kenseth like their cars set up similarly, Kenseth should be running better than he is.

Jimmie Johnson tells Kurt Busch he's sorry:

• Jimmie Johnson, who wrecked Kurt Busch last Sunday at Pocono, said the two talked on Monday. Johnson explained to Busch that it wasn't intentional and that he was actually trying to work with him.

"It's a racing incident," Johnson explained. "It was nothing intentional.

"I'm going to stay away from him as much as I can."

Kurt Busch spitting all sorts of fire:

• Kurt Busch's take: "I've been wrecked by Johnson quite a bit the last 13 months. ... He didn't intentionally try to wreck us at Pocono, but it did end up that way."

Busch said the same thing may happen in reverse. He may not mean to wreck Johnson, but it might end up that way.

So no, this isn't over.

• "The guys at Hendrick are pretty boys and they get on magazine covers. My job is to race cars."

He went on to say if the roles were reversed, he would have been hung for wrecking the four-time champion. But if the roles were reversed, Busch said he wouldn't have wrecked the 48.

• More from Busch: "Johnson and I are fun, it's just tough when it's three against nothing right now."

• Here's an interesting quote from Busch: "If I even had a shot at jumping in that 5 car, a pretty boy named Kasey Kahne got picked over me."

Hmmmm...

And that's the end of press conferences Friday. Next up is the second practice beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Greg Biffle is tops, again:

• Final practice is over and Greg Biffle, again, tops the speed chart. He's followed by Juan Pablo Montoya, Marcos Ambrose, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, AJ Allmendinger and Denny Hamlin.

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