NEWS & NOTES
TESTING Next week’s road course race at New York’s Watkins Glen International will mark the first time NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will race on the circuit’s freshly paved surface. In preparation, NASCAR hosted an open organizational test (one car per team) Tuesday and Wednesday on the 2.45-mile layout. Drivers participating included AJ Allmendinger, Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Chris Buescher, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Matt DiBenedetto, Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Michael McDowell, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, Brian Scott, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Martin Truex Jr. RATINGS BONANZA Sunday’s Brickyard 400 was carried live on NBCSN, and it delivered a 3.1 rating while being viewed by 5.2 million viewers, the highest viewership numbers ever achieved by the cable network since it began in 2012. EARNHARDT UPDATE Dale Earnhardt Jr. confirmed last week that he would miss Sunday’s race at Pocono Raceway as he recovers from concussion-like symptoms. The Hendrick Motorsports driver said Monday in a podcast that he would have an answer about his status for next week’s race at Watkins Glen this coming Monday. “This process is going to take a little bit longer,” he said. He will have missed three races by the next update, with Jeff Gordon driving two (including Sunday at Pocono) and Alex Bowman one as substitutes in the No. 88. “I’m not going to go against that (doctors’) advice no matter what,” Earnhardt said. “I can’t play around at this age, and with my history I definitely don’t need to get cute (about returning).” Earnhardt faces an uphill battle to qualify for the postseason as he’s now 11 points behind Kyle Larson for the non-win cut-off point.