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NASCAR Notebook

Associated Press
The NASCAR notebook …
MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle had a run-in on the track when the Sprint Cup Series got in its only practice after the rain stopped Saturday, and then had words as the confrontation spilled over into the garage later.
On the track, Biffle ran into the back of Harvick’s car. Harvick, who is fifth in the series standings 26 points behind leader Carl Edwards, later hit Biffle in the back.
The drivers later stopped at the exit of Turn 2, then headed for the garage, where Harvick pulled in alongside Biffle, then pulled ahead, momentarily blocking Biffle’s access to his stall. Biffle turned in anyway, clipping the back of Harvick’s car.
After climbing from his car, Biffle headed to Harvick’s garage stall, drawing a crowd of team members and officials, even though the conversation appeared to become amicable.
Biffle’s teammates, Edwards and Matt Kenseth, are 1-2 in the point standings.
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OVER FOR FIVE-TIME? Jimmie Johnson’s six victories at Martinsville are second among active drivers to teammate Jeff Gordon’s seven, but Johnson doesn’t necessarily view Sunday’s race as his best chance to make a dent in his 50-point deficit to leader Carl Edwards with four races left.
He figures that came last week at Talladega, but his strategy of racing at the back of the pack to avoid a big crash, and then charging to the front at the end was foiled by cautions.
Now, it’s anyone’s guess.
“As long as we are still mathematically in it, I’m not going to give up hope. I just never been one to lay down on something or to quit and not try; we have four races left on the schedule, stuff can happen,” Johnson said. “That window of opportunity is getting smaller and smaller, especially with these last two weeks, but it is not over until it is over.”
With six drivers ahead of him in the standings, he knows his odds are long.
“It’s one thing if there were one or two guys ahead of me, my odds would improve at that point. But it’s impossible to know what’s going to happen and I’ve just got to go out and try to lead as many laps as I can, win as often as I can, and see where everyone else’s luck goes,” he said, noting that he thinks this has become one of the more volatile years in the series.
“If that volatility stays in play, I’ve got a shot,” Johnson said. “If Carl runs top five from here on in, then I’ve got no chance.”
Kurt Busch, who is eighth, 52 points behind, thinks their Chase already is over.
“We’re 50 points back, which is the equivalent of being over a race back,” he said. “The old system, that would be 200 points back. There’s no way you can gain that in four races.”
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SHORT TRACK TEMPERS: Timothy Peters and Brendan Gaughan don’t like each other.
The Truck Series drivers had issues at the end of Saturday’s race, and a confrontation after they climbed from their cars had Peters listening and then laughing as Gaughan stormed away.
“I can’t help but laugh,” he said. “I guess he just wants me to pull over for him.”
Gaughan said the two have a long-running feud that won’t go away.
“Him and I have had a lot of problems for a lot of years and I’ve never quite got him back, and he just added another notch to it,” he said. “When it does come back, it might hurt a little bit. I would like to handle it like a man, but I think he would be too afraid.”

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