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Race day observations

-- The abundance of fuel-mileage races this season can be traced to one fact: Tires consistently don't wear out, leaving the fuel window as the last variable. Now, the cry has been heard that NASCAR needs to fix it. The idea of calling a competition caution late in each race within the fuel-mileage window to ensure racing to the end is contrary to the essence of this sport. Risk is part of winning, and knowing when to take risks is what separates good teams from great teams. Drivers and fans have complained about phantom debris cautions. Are contrived ones any better?

-- Whatever the reasons, Scott Miller left Richard Childress Racing to become vice president of competition at Michael Waltrip Racing. It can't be anything but a win for MWR. The organization has had plenty of growing pains, but it has been highly regarded for its marketing and relationships with sponsors. Miller might hold the key to getting the area of competition on par with the others.

-- The 2012 Sprint Cup schedule has been trickling out. There don't seem to be any big surprises, but a notable omission has been the Kentucky date. It's clear the speedway will continue to host Cup races, but any chance NASCAR is sending a subtle message with the delay?

OBSERVER PICK:

Jim Utter: He had a car capable of winning last week and ran out of fuel but still finished 10th. He won't make the same mistake twice. Winner: Jimmie Johnson

RACE FACTS

Sylvania 300

What: 300 laps or 317.4 miles

Where: New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, N.H.

When: 2 p.m. Sunday

TV: ESPN

Radio: Performance Racing Network

Green flag: 2:18 p.m.

Weather: Partly sunny with a 20 percent chance of showers.

Last year's winner: Clint Bowyer

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