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NASCAR Notes: Stars say no disrespect for Obama

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NASCAR stars say no disrespect for Obama
HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) -
NASCAR stars Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle say they can't attend next week's visit to the White House because of scheduling conflicts. Both insist they mean no disrespect toward President Obama.

Both drivers have been to the White House before and met the president. In fact, Biffle says he has a picture shaking hands with Obama on display in his office.

Biffle says he couldn't get out of a two-day appearance for main sponsor 3M in Minnesota next week. Stewart won't reveal where he will be but says he would have accepted the invitation if possible.

The president invited NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and 11 other drivers who made the Chase last year. Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards also say they can't attend.

Smoke feeling the heat with NASCAR Chase looming
HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) -
Tony Stewart looked nice and relaxed during a sponsor appearance.

Good try, Smoke.

The pressure is clearly on Stewart, who's slogged his way through a winless season and finds himself barely clinging to his perennial spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

He heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway for what might be viewed as a last stand. Stewart has won three times at the 1.54-mile oval, including last year's race on Labor Day weekend, so this is a good chance to give himself a little breathing room.

Stewart holds a tenuous 21-point lead for the 10th position in the playoff, with hard-charging Brad Keselowski right on his heels.

If Stewart drops to 11th, he'll be in real trouble since the two wild cards will likely go to drivers with wins.

Hornaday beats Bowyer, Busch on pit strategy
HAMPTON, Ga. (AP) -
Ron Hornaday Jr. raced to his record 49th NASCAR Truck Series victory, pulling it out on pit strategy after Clint Bowyer led much of the race Friday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Bowyer and Kyle Busch were the only drivers to lead until the last round of stops brought the leaders onto pit road for fuel and tires.

Hornaday stayed out, knowing he had enough fuel to make it and hoping his worn-out tires would hold out. They did, even though Bowyer was knocking off nearly 2 seconds a lap.

Hornaday won by 1.596 seconds over Bowyer, while Busch settled for third.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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