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So who's the boss? Kasey Kahne says he's scratching his head over that question

   Jimmie Johnson gets a birthday cake and small party, courtesy of NASCAR, during Thursday's New York City PR whirlwind....but Juan Pablo Montoya, who is also celebrating a birthday (Sunday, also turning 34), didn't get anything. A PR faux pas? It would seem. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

    The NASCAR Loudon Notebook

   By Mike Mulhern

   So who is the boss at Richard Petty Motorsports now, with the pending 'merger' between that George Gillett-owned company and Doug Yates' Ford team, a merger that Petty himself is calling a buyout?
   Let's ask Kasey Kahne, who is caught in the middle of the situation – with his current Dodge engine department, 40 to 80 strong, apparently about to be dumped onto the NASCAR job market – with the looming switch to Fords, just as he's trying to kick off the championship playoffs.
   Who is the go-to guy? "Well, that's a tough question," Kahne concedes, "because I really don't know who it is either.
    "There are not a lot of answers out there right now.  I don't know if it's because we're in the middle of a lot of things….we just don't have a person in that position. 
    "I think Robbie Loomis is supposedly going to be that guy, but I don't think that he is yet. 
    "Is it Foster (Gillett, George's son)?  You can't get anything out of Foster. 
     "So it's hard to say who that is.
    "And I think that's because we're in a lot of different things right now.
    "But when you're in things, you still need to keep your team and your guys, your company behind you, knowing what's going on. And we don't have that. 
     "Hopefully, we get it soon. 
     "The sooner we get that, the better everybody will be."

     If this title chase comes down to experience down the stretch, Greg Biffle won't be at any disadvantage: "I lost the championship by eight points in the Truck series and by 35 points in Cup in 2005. 
    "That definitely humbles you…and gives you the experience of what it's like to come up a little short -- and how important every moment of the chase is. Every pit stop, every green flag and yellow flag lap. What to do and what not to do. 
    "That experience is valuable. Hopefully it'll pay off this year."
    Biffle is still bummed about that one loose lug nut at Texas in the final days of the 2005 chase.
   "That lug nut deal happened with three races to go; we were running third and finished 20th, and lost the chase by 35 points.  With pretty quick math you can tell I lost 50 or 60 points from that one incident. 
    "I'd made it through Martinsville, and made it through Talladega. And it got down to the wire, and something happened. 
   "It's really tough to deal with those things. 
    "Dumb things can happen, and people can make simple mistakes….huge mistakes.
    "But the reality is you've got to deal with it and go on.  You have to try and recover the best you can.
    "You try to avoid all the things you can, and if things happen you try to recover – because Tony (Stewart, who wound up winning the title) easily could have had something happen at Homestead (in the final race) and we could have won it.
    "So you never give up.
    "You've got 10 weeks to have to be flawless…But it's tough to deal with, it really, really, truly is tough to deal with, when something like
that happens.
    "You never know if that's going to be the deciding factor until you're down to the very last race." 

     NASCAR is expanding its TV landscape, signing a multi-year deal with VERSUS for a weekly 30-minute review of the 10-race playoffs – Tuesday 11 p.m. ET.

    Tickets for some of NASCAR's 2010 Cup events are going on sale even now, like Talladega tickets for next April's triple-header weekend.
    And it's not just about selling tickets to those events but also about gauging interest in those races, or lack of interest.
    Plus there are some new lower ticket prices and single-day tickets that have been two-day race packages.
   This comes while tickets for the Nov. 1 Talladega 500 are still available.


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