With the New Hampshire race ending and NASCAR taking a break this weekend, it's time to take a look at some of the racing buzz throughout the last month of NASCAR.
We've seen driver A.J. Allmendinger at the center of attention for the past couple of weeks because of his failed drug test. Does that mean the Dinger is done?
Or what about the lack of cautions in most of the races this season? At New Hampshire on Sunday, for example, there were only three cautions.
When a race has few cautions does that make the race boring? Or is it something else?
There have been some big stories in NASCAR so far this year. Here are several that have been in the headlines recently.
After the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, we are beginning to see just how the chase will turn out this season.
Kasey Kahne was able to pick up his second win and was also able to move up in points. While Kyle Busch ended up going down one spot, he still holds onto the second wild card spot and will more than likely keep it as we get closer to the chase.
There are other drivers who are still so close to that wild card spot but, at the same time, so far away.
Edwards is one of those drivers.
Without a win and in 11th place, Carl Edwards is still trying to break the top 10 in points. He might manage to do that, but with the roll that Brad Keselowski has been on lately, he might be too much for Edwards to knock out of 10th. With Kahne also slowly moving up the ranks, Edwards might end up getting bumped back down.
Drivers Ryan Newman and Joey Logano still have a shot at the wild card if they can manage to win another race; however, Kyle Busch has a better chance at winning another race than they do.
Busch put on a dominate performance at New Hampshire, and if it wasn't for trouble in the pits and a pit road penalty, he would have easily placed higher.
Kasey Kahne, on the other hand, has two wins and has only improved as the season has progressed. He is a solid driver and will more than likely maintain his wild card spot.
Even if Kahne were to catch the top 10 in points before the Chase began, it would still look the same. The only difference would be Keselowski as a wild card and Kahne in the top 10.
There also could be slight changes among the top 10 drivers as we look at the standings now, but it doesn't look likely.
By the time NASCAR was heading to Richmond in April, cautions were down by more than a third from the previous year.
Since then, the trend of fewer cautions during a race has only continued.
There will always be that argument of wrecks vs. racing, and even Tony Stewart chimed in with some sarcastic comments after the Talladega race back in May.
Stewart was quoted via aol.sportingnews.com as saying:
"I'm upset that we didn't crash more cars, I feel like that is what we are here for."
But is the issue here really a lack of cautions? I would rather have no cautions than see NASCAR use its famous debris caution to let the other cars catch up to the front of the pack.
The race at Texas Motor Speedway went 234 laps without a caution, but that wasn't the problem with the race.
Once Biffle was able to take the lead, the other drivers couldn't catch him.
Going without cautions is fine, but having to watch a race where one driver is dominate is not.
NASCAR needs to find a way to make it so that the cars are on more of an even playing ground. Clean air plays a huge role in how fast a car can go, and that always seems to be the case whenever someone gets out in front sans cautions.
Maybe making adjustments to the cars and even the point system would also encourage drivers to charge to the front for the entire race, not just hang out in the back until the majority of the race is over.
So, should we be blaming boring races on the fact that there have been fewer cautions?
It is perfectly acceptable for a driver to want to avoid racing too hard in order to preserve his car until the end.
However, NASCAR should find some way to encourage drivers to want to charge to the front throughout the race. They need to make adjustments so that the cars are on more of an even playing field. When one car gets out in front, it can't dominate the entire race.
We shouldn't be looking at the lack of cautions as a problem. Instead, NASCAR should try to figure out how to keep these races more competitive.
Kurt Busch is a fantastic driver.
He has one huge problem, though; he can't seem to grow up.
While he may have had a mutual split from Penske last season, his actions didn't give Penske any reason to keep him.
Making an obscene gesture toward the general area of first lady Michelle Obama's motorcade was one of the last straws for Busch.
He then went on a tirade after the Homestead race was over when interviewed by Dr. Jerry Punch from ESPN.
You really couldn't blame Penske for wanting to come to a "mutual agreement" to let Busch go.
Maybe we could have forgiven Kurt Busch after he seemed to struggle to find a ride during the offseason. He eventually ended up with James Finch racing, a much smaller team.
Busch has struggled with his new team, which is expected. The team lacks the sponsorship that bigger teams in NASCAR have.
Maybe Busch learned his lesson. Maybe he understood the consequences of his actions.
We could have assumed Busch had grown up until the May 12 race at Darlington. Busch got into a tiff with Ryan Newman's pit crew that would put Busch on probation and fined $50,000.
Sadly, Busch only added to his trouble when he threatened Speed reporter Bob Pockrass. NASCAR suspended Busch for the Pocono race.
Team owner James Finch wasn't sure if Busch would be back after the Pocono race.
He clearly wasn't happy with Busch, and after the incident, he was quoted at ESPN.com as saying:
"If he's going to kill himself I'm not going to be in the airplane with him. If that's what he's planning on doing, I am going to get out."
While Kurt has been on his best behavior since his one-race suspension, Finch was right to describe Busch as killing himself.
Being on a racing team that is desperate for sponsors and then acting the way Busch did is NASCAR suicide.
While Kurt did win a Nationwide race recently, he needs to show how good he is by driving, not by running his mouth.
Busch isn't bigger than NASCAR. While he is a great driver, he won't last much longer if he keeps up his bad attitude.
A.J. Allmendinger is done as a NASCAR Sprint Cup series driver.
After testing positive on June 29 for a supposed stimulant, Allmendinger is currently serving out an indefinite suspension.
While the Dinger is bringing in his own experts for the "B" test, it won’t matter.
The Dinger is done, even if the "B" test turns out to be false.
He clearly took something that was enough to turn up on a drug test as a stimulant.
Why would Penske racing, or any other team, want to take a risk on Allmendinger now? He has yet to even win a race in the Sprint Cup series, and with this new suspension trouble, the Dinger doesn't seem worth it.
Fellow teammate Brad Keselowski thinks that Allmendinger might be done as well. He was quoted by CBSsports.com as saying:
"Whether it comes back positive or negative, it's still a death sentence."
Keselowski also feels that drivers really shouldn't take any type of supplement, including vitamins. That view might be a bit extreme, but Keselowski is right when he says Dinger's second test is still a "death sentence."
It goes far beyond whether anyone will want to take a risk on Allmendinger now. With NASCAR being so heavily influenced by sponsorship, what sponsors would want to support a team who has a driver with a tainted reputation?
The Dinger is done, plain and simple.
It's no secret that Matt Kenseth is leaving Roush Fenway at the end of the season.
Kenseth has been in the No. 17 car for all but one of his 452-race career. His career has been built racing for Roush Fenway, his 2003 championship win.
Kenseth is currently the Sprint Cup Series point leader. He could always win Roush Fenway one last championship before he leaves.
Matt Kenseth, though, still hasn't announced who he will be racing for in 2013.
At first, it might have seemed like Kenseth would end up on JGR, taking Joey Logano's spot. However, that seems highly unlikely as JGR has made it clear that they would like to re-sign Logano at the end of the season.
Joe Gibbs was quoted at aol.sportingnews.com as saying:
"Our goal really is for Joey to be part of JGR forever. We kind of brought him on board and we want him to be here forever."
He still could end up at JGR if they add a fourth car to their racing team.
But that raises some questions.
Who will sponsor the JGR fourth car? Would a driver like Kenseth, who has driven Ford cars for 14 years, want to switch over to Toyota?
While JGR will most likely be where Kenseth winds up, there are still several other teams that should be considered.
Penske, for example, will be switching over to Ford next season. If they were to add a third car to the team, Kenseth would be the perfect fit.
This could also be unlikely, though, as Stewart was quoted by ESPN.com as saying:
"I have every intention of keeping him [Newman] for next year. I like him as a teammate. He's been somebody from day one that believes in what we're doing."
It's still unclear where Kenseth will end up. Regardless, whichever team signs this future Hall of Famer will acquire one of the best drivers in NASCAR today.