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GILLILAND LOSES, THEN FINDS CUP RIDE

David Gilliland will sit in for Bill Elliott in the No.21 Ford in Sunday's Pep Boys 500 at Atlanta, Rick Minter of Racintoday.com reported Friday. Elliott cracked three ribs in a dirt bike accident. "It's just a freak deal," Elliott told Minter of the accident. "I just decided that those boys (the Wood Brothers team) had worked so hard on the car it wouldn't be fair for me to have a problem and mess them up." Gilliland had expected to sit out after TRG Motorsports owner Kevin Buckler replaced him with Bobby Labonte, a six time winner at Atlanta who in turn will be unseated for seven races in the No.96 Hall of Fame/Yates Racing because of a lack of sponsorship.

FIA asks Renault to explain crash

Renault was summoned by Formula One's governing body to a hearing into allegations that the team deliberately caused a crash to win a race last season. The French team was called to appear before the World Motor Sport Council on Sept.21 in Paris, FIA said. The team is accused of ordering former driver Nelson Piquet Jr. to crash during last year's Singapore Grand Prix to deploy the safety car. That aided teammate Fernando Alonso, who went on to win the race.

Childress shaking up organization

Richard Childress Racing reorganized its competition department this week, and the biggest change means a new crew chief for Jeff Burton in 2010. Scott Miller is the new director of competition, and will simultaneously finish the season atop Burton's pit box. Miller will assume some responsibilities from vice president of competition Mike Dillon and director of competition Will Lind. Dillon, Childress' son-in-law, will still oversee the competition department. Lind will be business director for competition.

Magic numbers

Any driver with a 196-point lead over 13th place after Sunday's Cup race will clinch a spot in the Chase for the Championship. Any driver up by 162 points needs only to start the Sept.12 race at Richmond.

Times wires

Cruise narrating Hendrick film

Tom Cruise will narrate an upcoming documentary about the history of Hendrick Motorsports. Together: The Hendrick Motorsports Story airs Oct. 11 on Ch. 28 before ABC's coverage of the Sprint Cup race at California. The actor became friendly with Rick Hendrick when the team owner did some consulting for Cruise's racing film Days of Thunder.

Number of the day

3 Sprint Cup drivers who have made up at least a 34-point deficit with two races left to earn a berth in the Chase for the Championship. Kyle Busch, who is 13th in points, trails 12th-place Matt Kenseth by 34. The drivers to race their way in were Mark Martin and Jeremy Mayfield, who both overcame 35-point deficits in 2004, and Kasey Kahne, who made up a 90-point shortfall in 2006.

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