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For the average 18-year-old, school and work take up the majority of free time. In that respect, then, Chase Elliot is like pretty much any other 18-year-old. He graduated on Saturday, and then went to work. The only difference is, his work involves him flying around the country and driving a really loud car in circles.

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In an effort to make racing more entertaining for fans (both live and on television), NASCAR has overhauled the way cars will qualify for races in 2014. With the exception of the Daytona 500, NASCAR races have previously used single-car qualifying to set the race-day field, but starting this year, drivers in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series will qualify in large groups in knockout rounds similar to how Formula One, United SportsCar and non-oval IndyCar races opera

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Extreme sports star Travis Pastrana is throwing in the towel on his NASCAR career, announcing that he'll not be taking part in the 2014 Nationwide Series. Pastrana, 30, ran his first NASCAR event in 2011, the Toyota All-Star Showdown, and made his Nationwide Series debut in April 2012.

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A diagnosis of any degenerative autoimmune disease can be devastating, but after recently learning he had developed multiple sclerosis, NASCAR driver Trevor Bayne is shrugging it off and says he'll continue to race full time for Roush Fenway Racing in the Nationwide Series this year. Doctors and NASCAR have cleared him to compete behind the wheel.

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Aside from the antics of the Busch brothers and Tony Stewart's uncensored comments, some of the biggest controversies in NASCAR are directed at the tires used on the cars. Goodyear can't do anything about Kurt, Kyle or Tony, but it is looking improve the quality of its rubber by introducing a new type of racing tires for this weekend's event at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

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NASCAR has pared its broadcasts down to two providers - Fox and NBC. According to a report from USA Today, the recently inked deal will give the Peacock Network exclusive rights to the last 20 Sprint Cup races, the last 19 Nationwide races, all K&N and Whelen Modified races, the NASCAR Toyota Mexico series, Hall of Fame and banquet ceremonies, live-streams for both Sprint Cup and Nationwide races, and Spanish broadcasting rights on Telemundo and Mun2. Got all that?

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The next step in the off-track saga involving NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Mike Harmon and Jennifer Jo Cobb has been taken, with arrest warrants issued for Harmon and business associate David Novak. In May, Harmon was charged with stealing a car hauler and other goods worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from Cobb's shop, and after saying he didn't steal them and maintaining his innocence, seven of the stolen vehicles were found on two of his properties that same month.

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NASCAR is reliable as the Bank of England when it comes to delivering drama on and off the track. Today's off-oval headlines involve Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck series drivers Mike Harmon and Jennifer Jo Cobb (pictured above). A couple of weeks ago, on May 15, Cobb reported that someone stole a transporter from Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing and nearly $300,000 worth of vehicles inside. She told police she knew who did it and publicly named Mike Harmon and Sheila Rae Rice as the culprits.

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Unlike his pre-BAR Honda F1 days, Jacques Villeneuve's NASCAR career has been strewn with potholes – and by "potholes" we mean crashes, mechanical failures and lowly finishes. But there have been a few successes, with third-place finishes at Montreal in 2010 and at Road America in 2011 – both road courses – and pole position at Montreal last year in the Nationwide Series.

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Pastrana-Waltrip Racing Team – Click above to watch video after the jump

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Last fall, NASCAR, Ford and Dodge all made a lot of noise about the introduction of the Mustang and Challenger bodies into the Nationwide race series. This all came after the latest Sprint Cup "Car of Tomorrow" drew criticism because all four participating brands had identical body shells, none of which looked like the stock road cars that lend them their names. The initial renderings focused on the front ends of the new racers, which featured more upright noses like the real pony cars you'll fi

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For years Marlboro has been nearly synonymous with Penske, its racing cars (in open-wheels especially) adorned with the tobacco company's red-and-white color scheme for decades, even if their name hasn't appeared on the cars since 2005. But after 19 years in racing together, Marlboro parent company Phillip Morris ended its sponsorship of the motor racing dynasty earlier this year. Now it appears that Shell Oil could be taking its place.

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Danica Patrick at the 2010 Nationwide 300 – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Breaking news! Your favorite female Indycar driver and mine, Danica Patrick, will be appearing on television February 10 sans her entire racing getup on the hit CBS show CSI: NY. Patrick will be playing – shocking, we know – a race car driver who is considered the top competitor to another star racing driver who dies under "suspicious circumstances."

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More Danica Patrick news and this time, it's actually racing related. Last week came a report that Ms. Patrick had inked a multi-year deal with the recently restructured Andretti Autosport, putting to rest the rumors that the sometime-swimsuit model was headed to NASCAR. Well, Sporting News is now reporting that the gun might have been jumped on that conclusion. It seems that the GoDaddy pitchwoman is about to announce a deal to drive for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s NASCAR Nationwide Series team in 201

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2010 NASCAR Ford Mustang - Click above for a high-res image

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Jacques Villeneuve may have his eyes set on a return to Formula One, but he isn't about to sit around waiting for it. The former world champion has announced plans to contest the upcoming Spa 24 Hours in Belgium later this month.

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Click above for high-res gallery of the NASCAR Nationwide Series' new cars

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NASCAR was a drinker and a smoker for decades until it gave up the cigs in 2003, trading Winstons for Nextel as title sponsor of its premier race series. Now it gives up beer with the Busch Series changing its name next season.

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