Carl Long back at the track

Carl Long was happy to be back at a race track – even if he was working for a team instead of driving for one. Long, the part-time Sprint Cup and Nationwide driver, was penalized in May after his engine for the all-star qualifying race was determined to have a displacement of 358.17 cubic inches – 0.17 cubic inches more than NASCAR allows. Long's crew chief, Charles Swing, was also penalized $200,000. This weekend, Long returned to the track at Kansas Speedway, where he will work as a spotter for Front Row Motorsports Sprint Cup team with driver #34-John Andretti. "I've paid my debt to society," he said. As to when he will drive again, Long says that depends on his funding situation. A friend is putting together the "Lets Get Carl Back on Track" fundraiser for Oct. 18 at the Memory Lane Auto Museum in Charlotte. Long will sign autographs at the event, which will also feature door prizes and an auction. Information is available at www.carl-long.com.

If he plans to race, though, Long has to meet the requirements of his "payment plan" with NASCAR. "We'll keep digging at it," he said. "If we don't get it all, maybe I'll get enough to go run a couple of races. They gave me a payment program, but that's about $20 grand a race until it gets paid off." In other words, Long must pay $20,000 prior to each race he plans to enter. He's not complaining, though. Long is pleased to just be back in the garage after settling for working at the shop for weeks. "I'm just thankful to still have a job and be a part of the team," he said. SceneDaily

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