The race still goes on, though. Looking toward the second half of the season, the obvious favorite to keep dominating is Busch. His all-star first half puts him on pace for 12 victories this year, one short of the all-time record. And while Busch and his Joe Gibbs Racing team are the frontrunners for now, all eyes will be on competitor Hendrick Motorsports down the stretch and into next year. Hendrick recently signed veteran driver Mark Martin, who next season joins Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson on the roster.

It's a star-studded lineup of fan favorites and proven winners, and by all accounts Hendrick could be an early favorite to make a late-season run this year and perhaps take the championship in 2009.

Of course, it's not all fun and business as usual in the land of auto racing. This first half has also seen a scandalous lawsuit that could severely damage the sport's reputation and image. Former Nationwide Series official Mauricia Grant filed a lawsuit against NASCAR, alleging both racial discrimination and sexism throughout the sport.

If the numerous claims stand, the sport and those associated with it could face even more scrutiny and backlash.

Here's a NASCAR primer for those who may not know:

The typical NASCAR season features three tiers of races: the Sprint ( S) Cup Series, the Nationwide ( NFS) Series, and the Craftsman Truck series. NASCAR drivers receive points for performance in races across all three tiers, with the point totals determining the overall standings.

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