Tony Stewart gathers momentum as he preps for Pocono

Despite the penalties, Keselowski isn't exactly in a horrible way. He sits in 10th place in the standings with 13 races to go before the field is set for the Chase for the Championship. But he also has yet to win a race.

Plenty of time, no question. But the window of opportunity keeps getting squeezed tighter and tighter.

Just win, baby

Giddy-up, Denny Hamlin. After missing four races because of a back fracture suffered when his car hit an inner wall at Fontana, Hamlin has no time to dawdle if he wants to make the Chase.

"I think we're treating it as if it is Chase scenarios right now," he said. "I'm driving like it or even more aggressive than I would be if I was in the Chase. We're going to have to capitalize on our money tracks. We're going to have to win at those race tracks and sneak a few in here and there when we don't expect it. We're doing everything we can and if we come up short, then we come up short. There's nothing we're going to be able to do about it."

Strong brand

Despite the uncertain economy, NASCAR keeps rolling along at a brisk pace. The company reported that for the second consecutive year, the number of FORTUNE 500 companies involved in NASCAR increased, marking an 8 percent improvement since 2008.

Nearly one-in-four (117) FORTUNE 500 companies include NASCAR as part of their marketing mix, according to an analysis that compared the annual list compiled by Fortune magazine and marked the companies involved in NASCAR's sanctioning body, teams and tracks plus those as media partners.

"There's a reason the number of FORTUNE 500 companies invested in NASCAR remains higher than any other sport," said Steve Phelps, NASCAR's chief marketing officer. "Our fans are among the most brand loyal in all of sports. Some of the world's biggest, most recognizable and profitable brands utilize NASCAR as a critical and powerful part of their marketing mix because it works for their business."

Read George Diaz's blog at OrlandoSentinel.com/enfuego or e-mail him at gdiaz@orlandosentinel.com.

 

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