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Raceday: Your guide to Sunday’s Goody’s 500

Race preview

Concussion testing for 2014 already front-burner issue

While several Sprint Cup Series drivers expressed their support for NASCAR’s decision to implement baseline concussion testing in its three national series before the 2014 season, at least one remains skeptical.

Reigning series champion Brad Keselowski said he will keep an open mind but doesn’t think doctors understand race car drivers.

“Doctors aren’t risk-takers. We are. That’s what makes our sport what it is and when you get doctors involved, you water down our sport,” he said. “I’m trying to be open-minded to the possibility that they can help us, but past experience says no.”

Keselowski is concerned about the subjective nature involved in the baseline testing, an issue which has been raised in other sports as well.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who missed two races last season because of a concussion, called NASCAR’s decision “a great move.”

“It’s a great tool not only to help diagnosis but really to understand the type of injury and the style of injury that you have and how to treat that particular injury with the information that you get from the baseline test,” he said.

“It’s just valuable information. If you care about your well-being and your health and quality of life it’s a smart move to embrace.”


Hal Needham, former stuntman and NASCAR team owner dies: Hal Needham, a longtime stuntman, movie director and NASCAR team owner, died Friday in Las Angeles. He was 82.

Needham served as director of “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Cannonball Run” for Burt Reynolds and from 1981-88he and Reynolds co-owned Harry Gant’s No.33, in which he won nine races and 13 poles.

During his Hollywood career, Needham won an Emmy and an Oscar, appeared in 4,500 television episodes and 350 feature films.

Earnhardt leads the way: Earnhardt Jr., winlessthis season, was fastest during Saturday’s final Cup series practice. Close behind was Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth. Joey Logano was fastest during Saturday’s first session.

3 things to watch

1. The drivers on the front row of Sunday’s race – Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson – have 12 Martinsville Cup wins between them.

2. In his first appearance at Martinsville with Joe Gibbs Racing in the spring, Kenseth led 96 laps – more than all his previous 27 starts combined.

3. Front Row Motorsports continues to make great strides. David Ragan will start eighth – the best qualifying result in the organization’s history.


Best bets

Three picks for your fantasy racing team:

Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick

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