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Motorsports Notebook: Travis Kvapil out of jail, back into driver’s seat

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013
NASCAR Kvapil Arrested Auto Racing

AP

This booking photo released by the Mooresville Police Department on Wednesday shows NASCAR driver Travis Kvapil. Kvapil is free on bond following his arrest Tuesday on charges of assault and false imprisonment.

A day after being released from the Iredell County Jail, NASCAR driver Travis Kvapil was back in his race car.

Kvapil, 37, was arrested on Tuesday night on and charged with one count each of assault on a female and false imprisonment stemming from an altercation with his wife at their Mooresville home.

While he was allowed to participate in practice and qualifying on Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway with his BK Racing team, NASCAR issued a statement saying it did not condone Kvapil’s actions.

“We are disappointed to learn of this incident. We have been in close communication with the race team and are in the process of gathering as much information as possible,” the statement read.

“NASCAR takes this matter very seriously and will continue to monitor the situation as it moves forward.”

Kvapil’s next scheduled court date is Nov. 19.

“BK Racing understands the severity of the situation and we don’t condone the actions that Travis has been accused of,” team co-owner Ron Devine said in a statement. “We feel it’s important to let the system take its course.

“For that reason, we have elected to support Travis and his family and keep Travis in the car for this weekend’s race.”

A very popular 500th start

This could be the most popular 500th career start in Sprint Cup Series history.

Why? Well, it does involve Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Only 33 drivers have started 500 races in their Cup careers, but on Saturday night NASCAR’s most popular driver will add his name to that list when he takes the green flag in the Bank of America 500.

Earnhardt made his debut in the series in May 1999 at Charlotte. The Kannapolis native started eighth and finished 16th.

Now, 499 starts later, Earnhardt has 19 wins, 111 top-fives and 199 top-10 finishes and 13 poles. If Earnhardt, who celebrated his 39th birthday on Thursday, wins this weekend, he would become the third driver to win in their 500th start (Richard Petty in 1970; Matt Kenseth three weeks ago at New Hampshire were the others).

After a shaky start to the Chase, where he finished 35th at Chicagoland, Earnhardt has come on strong lately with finishes of sixth, second and eighth in his last three races.

McGuire is Truck champion driver

Greg McGuire, hauler driver for Champion Tire & Wheel at NASCAR events, was named the 2013 Pilot/Flying J Truck Driver Challenge Champion.

McGuire, a rookie to the program but a 25-year veteran of driving haulers, posted three straight perfect scores in the final three challenges to secure his title.

Michael Waltrip Racing hauler driver Tony Sessions was second and Joe Gibbs Racing hauler driver Tom McCrimmon – the 2012 champion – finished third.

Who are the most popular drivers?

For the sixth consecutive year fans can vote online for the most popular driver of the year award in each of NASCAR’s touring series.

The balloting is hosted on NASCARHomeTracks.com for each of the touring series – K&N Pro Series East and West, Whelen Modified Tour, Whelen Southern Modified Tour, Canadian Tire Series, Toyota Series and Whelen Euro Series.

Fans may vote once per day and are encouraged to vote throughout the season. Voting continues through Nov. 17.

Stenhouse Jr. secures sponsorship

Zest has agreed to extend its sponsorship with Cup rookie Ricky Stenhouse Jr. into the 2014 season and will appear as primary sponsor of Stenhouse’s No. 17 Ford in six races.

“We are thrilled to have Zest back with us next season,” Stenhouse said. “I’ve really enjoyed getting to know everyone within their organization, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with Zest.”

Ashley Stremme is the ‘Better Half’

Ashley Stremme, the wife NASCAR driver David Stremme, won the “Better Half Dash” on Thursday night, a 25-lap charity race on the speedway’s quarter-mile frontstretch oval featuring wives and girlfriends of those in the NASCAR industry.

Utter: 704-358-5113

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