NASCAR AMERICA: Monday Round-Up (VIDEO)

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. appears to have finally become the championship contender that people expected him to be when he first joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2008.

Earnhardt’s victory yesterday at Pocono Raceway was his second of 2014, and in a shocking statistic, that equals his win count from 2007 – his final year with Dale Earnhardt Inc. – all the way to last year.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA, Earnhardt reacted to his big win in a Victory Lane interview with Nate Ryan:

With his two wins, Earnhardt’s assured of being in the Chase for the Sprint Cup this fall. But other drivers aren’t in that nice position he’s put himself in after 14 regular season races.

Frank Stoddard and Jeff Burton focused on those particular drivers that remain winless in a discussion of the current Chase Grid. They also talked about which of those drivers could make it to the postseason on points alone.

If you want to watch today’s episode of NASCAR AMERICA, an encore presentation will air at 12:30 a.m. ET tonight on NBCSN. For more clips, be sure to check out the show’s archive page on NBCSports.com.

Fernando Alonso confirmed for Toyota LMP1 test in Bahrain

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Fernando Alonso will take his first step towards a possible entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he tests an LMP1 car for Toyota on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.

McLaren Formula 1 driver and two-time world champion Alonso is hoping to appear at Le Mans next year as part of his bid to become just the second man in history to complete the ‘Triple Crown of Motorsport’.

Alonso has already completed one leg by winning the Monaco Grand Prix twice, and made his debut at the Indianapolis 500 in May with McLaren-Honda-Andretti, retiring late on due to an engine failure.

Momentum is building for Alonso to make his Le Mans debut with Toyota in 2018, starting with a first sports car run-out in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.

Alonso arrived in Bahrain on Saturday to watch the six-hour WEC race as an invited guest of the Bahraini royal family, with his participation in the test being confirmed after the race.

“We are very excited that Fernando will test our car. When he visited us in Cologne everyone who met him could sense his enthusiasm and passion for our sport; he is a true racer,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team president Hisatake Murata said.

“We very much respect his interest in different forms of motorsport and it is a pleasure to offer him this chance to drive a hybrid LMP1 car. It will be interesting to hear his feedback on the TS050 Hybrid.”

Alonso will share running in the Toyota car with 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who received a test as a prize for his star display during his rookie WEC campaign this year, while regular Toyota racer Mike Conway will also complete laps.