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Nuts For Nationwide

For Eric McClure, Maximizing Off-Track Success Means On-Track Limitations

For Eric McClure, Maximizing Off-Track Success Means On-Track Limitations

Eric McClure has fast learned that life outside the top 30 is much different. “It’s agonizing,” says McClure of his current situation, “because we’re trying to qualify against guys who are professional qualifiers. They’re here to run and park, so anything can happen. Case in point, Bristol and Iowa. We were plenty fast enough to make both races, but we had incidents in qualifying, and missed the race despite beating 10 or 12 cars.” “[Meanwhile], I'm learning to qualify again.” Read More »

Nuts for Nationwide: Fast Forward to 2011…and a Real Nationwide Title Battle

Nuts for Nationwide: Fast Forward to 2011…and a Real Nationwide Title Battle

both limitations on Cup driver participation and a prohibition on Cup regulars running for the Nationwide title are reportedly being seriously considered by the sanctioning body. And while that might make things difficult for all 10 fans out there foaming at the mouth for Brad vs. Carl II as the 2011 NNS title chase, it would finally guarantee the first compelling Nationwide Series points race since Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer went down to the line back in 2005. Who stands to benefit from this turn of events that hopefully will come to fruition come Daytona next February? What better time to take a look at the contenders for 2011 then on a weekend with the new car and a title chase that's been decided for months now? Read More »

Nuts for Nationwide: Put the Road Courses on Hiatus

Nuts for Nationwide: Put the Road Courses on Hiatus

On the surface, it sounds great. And it's a move that I fully supported, the return of road course racing to the Nationwide Series back in 2005. Road course racing certainly is a motorsports discipline, and one that for the sake of diversity has a place on a national touring series schedule. With regard to the Nationwide Series, road racing has been hit or miss. Watkins Glen, about as perfect a road course for stock cars as they come, has put on some great races. Mexico City produced exciting races with Martin Truex Jr. holding off a hard-charging Boris Said in the inaugural event at the Autodromos Hermanos Rodriguez and Juan Montoya dumping teammate Scott Pruett to score his first NASCAR victory in 2007. Read More »

A Rudderless Nationwide Series Adrift Once Again

A Rudderless Nationwide Series Adrift Once Again

Throw Danica Patrick and her marketing machine from the train. This should have been the weekend for the NASCAR Nationwide Series to bask in the spotlight, to sell itself to fans new and old alike. This weekend marks the return to O'Reilly Raceway Park, one of the most underrated venues that NASCAR's national series travels to, a tight bullring that has produced some of the best side-by-side racing seen this decade over the years I've covered the Nationwide Series. Last year's top 10 battle between Trevor Bayne, Ron Hornaday, Steve Wallace and Brad Keselowski that saw these drivers three-wide all night long with no contact made was absolutely spellbinding to watch. Read More »

Danica Can’t Save the Nationwide Series, No Matter How Much NASCAR Wants It

Danica Can’t Save the Nationwide Series, No Matter How Much NASCAR Wants It

She's back. The biggest name in IndyCar racing, the anointed savior of the Nationwide Series, Ms. Danica Patrick will make her fourth start in NASCAR's AAA division this coming weekend, with no need to worry about qualifying (a big pat on the back for Scott Wimmer, Josh Wise, Landon Cassill, Steve Arpin and all those who made it possible for her majesty to have no fears of...shudder...failing to qualify for a race.) And just like in Daytona four months ago, where the racing world went into her first race convinced they would see something spectacular after her sixth place finish driving a de facto Hendrick Motorsports machine in an ARCA race, all eyes will be turned to the open-wheeler and her bright green race car when the green flag drops in Loudon. It's harder to blame the centric media focus this time, as Cup regulars Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards have already turned this season's title chase into a snoozefest. Read More »

The Other Keselowski, The Other Side of the Garage

The Other Keselowski, The Other Side of the Garage

I stopped by Brian Keselowski's hauler at Richmond International Raceway last month to ask about why his third car, the No. 96, had been withdrawn from the Nationwide Series entry list that weekend. The answer was not what I expected. “Couldn't get it done in time,” quipped Keselowski. “It's sitting on the trailer outside, but that's the absolute truth to that. With the way Texas went, with the days we had to stay there [for rain], we got home, got the Talladega stuff ready and got to the track. We barely got home in time from that deal, and I just couldn't get it all done. There's not enough time in the days to get all of that done to come here and run successful enough to make the show.” “You can't come and just play. You've got to come serious. It wasn't going to be a serious enough effort to spend that kind of money to come and try to make it.” Read More »

Despite Sponsorship Woes, Potential There for Baker/Curb Resurgence to Continue

Despite Sponsorship Woes, Potential There for Baker/Curb Resurgence to Continue

Greg Biffle put the chrome horn to Joey Logano, and came awful close to holding off a hard-charging Kyle Busch before finishing second in the Nationwide Series' second race of the year at Fontana back in February. Not too far behind, Scott Lagasse Jr. drove the No. 43 car, a team that only weeks before did not exist, to a top-15 finish. Baker/Curb Racing was back. The face of the organization's resurgence has been the No. 27 Red Man Ford, which between Biffle, Johnny Sauter and Scott Wimmer has been a consistent top 10 car at every track on the Nationwide Series circuit. Read More »

Refusing To Wave The White Flag Of Surrender: A NASCAR Veteran Fights Back

Refusing To Wave The White Flag Of Surrender: A NASCAR Veteran Fights Back

NASCAR in 2010 is about survival of the fittest. Littered amongst the ruins of team owners folding, sponsors fleeing, and pay-to-play rides are hardcore veterans, old dogs being taught new tricks on how to play the field as an underdog. Fighting to simply scrimp and claw their way onto the fringes of series where they once celebrated in Victory Lane, it's an ugly landscape upon which to make a living - the type that would force any 51-year-old into early retirement rather than brave that minefield. But for Mike Wallace, defeat is not a word left in his vocabulary. Determination is more like it; and after years of frustration, he's finally paired with a team that feels the same way. Read More »

Jason Keller Continues to Weather Changes in the Nationwide Series

Jason Keller Continues to Weather Changes in the Nationwide Series

*Bryan Davis Keith: Talk about having to race your way into the field week in and week out. That's got to be an adjustment.* *Jason Keller:* It is. We made a mock qualifying run, and typically you'll stack that up whether you're in the top 10, top 15. Of late, you look where you are, but you're going “that's a go-or-go homer, that's a go-or-go-homer” and you have to gauge where you stack up against those guys. It's a transition, but it's all part of it. We've got ourselves in a pretty good hole, but we just have to try to be smart about it and race two races in practice. You race to go fast, but now every change we make I think to myself how is that going to change what we do in qualifying? Read More »

2010 Driver Development Already Suffering

2010 Driver Development Already Suffering

What started as a year full of promise for a new crop of development drivers to restore the Nationwide Series to its rightful place as a development league for the future of stock car racing has quickly unraveled. Not surprisingly, John Wes Townley continued his struggles of 2009, even with the backing of Richard Childress Racing, and now both his future with that team, and in the sport in general, hangs in indefinite hiatus. But it was a shocker to see Kelly Bires, the hottest Nationwide prospect of 2009, booted from his seat at JR Motorsports after less than 10 starts with the No. 88 team...and only one finish outside the top 20. Read More »