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Nuts For Nationwide

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 »

Reality Of Small-Time Racing Setting In For Eric McClure

Reality Of Small-Time Racing Setting In For Eric McClure

Back when I spoke to Eric McClure prior to the season opener at Daytona, he was convinced that for the all the economic turmoil facing the Nationwide Series in 2010, that the battle for a spot in the top-30, and a locked-in spot in the NNS field, would be even more competitive than it was in 2009. Turns out, he was right. A number of full-time operations from 2009, including the No. 26 team of K Automotive and the No. 61 team of Specialty Racing have already fallen outside of the top 30 only seven events into 2010, with a number of others barely hanging on. McClure's team is one of them. Read More »

A Dream Cut Short: Bires Becomes Latest Casualty of JR Motorsports’ Development

A Dream Cut Short: Bires Becomes Latest Casualty of JR Motorsports’ Development

Talk about having the rug pulled out. With the announcement made that Kelly Bires has been terminated at JR Motorsports, the Nationwide Series has seen perhaps it's most head-scratching driver swap since Mike Bliss got yanked at Phoenix Racing last season, and one of the earliest since, well, Phoenix Racing, fired veteran Jason Keller less than a quarter of the way into the 2006 season, and last season's hottest NNS prospect is off ride hunting again. It's hard to fathom why JR Motorsports was so quick to pull the trigger here. Because while the No. 88 team is no stranger to removing development drivers from the seat quickly, this one tops them all. Read More »

5 Reasons Justin Allgaier Can Win the 2010 Nationwide Series Championship

5 Reasons Justin Allgaier Can Win the 2010 Nationwide Series Championship

Not since Martin Truex Jr. held off a surging Clint Bowyer to score his second consecutive Nationwide (then Busch Series) title has a regular in the Series actually won the season-ending crown. Continuing a practice that Kevin Harvick made fashionable when he decided to run for a second Nationwide crown, and slaughtered the field doing it, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch have all followed suit, becoming the second, third and fourth driver to win another NASCAR championship while racing Cup full-time. Note that while they've done that, none of them have managed to put a Sprint Cup on their resume. Read More »

Back to the Baseline for Specialty Racing

Back to the Baseline for Specialty Racing

Since returning to the Nationwide Series full-time in 2008, Specialty Racing and their No. 61 team has managed to do what no other team has; to run full-time with no sponsorship. Maximizing every penny of their purse money and exercising fiscal discipline, the team was able to contest the entire 2008 season and the first half of 2009, running the distance every race. And in Brandon Whitt, the team had a development driver in their ranks that they were prepared to plan long-term around. But personal circumstances led to Brandon stepping out of the seat of the No. 61 for good 15 races into the 2009 campaign. Read More »

Eric McClure on Returning to Team Rensi, Nationwide Series for 2010

Eric McClure on Returning to Team Rensi, Nationwide Series for 2010

*Bryan Davis Keith:* What's been going on in the Rensi-Hamilton camp to prepare for 2010? *Eric McClure:* Well, we're back to Team Rensi Motorsports now. I don't really know any of the details behind that other than that we're not Rensi-Hamilton anymore. But everything's been good. The guys were able to work all winter, which helped us get our stuff ready, get ready to go for the first few weeks. *Bryan:* Hefty's coming back. With the sponsorship, what are you going to be able to afford resources wise? I know you ran last season short a couple sets of tires every weekend. Read More »

2010 Nationwide Series Preview

2010 Nationwide Series Preview

The 2010 Nationwide Series season is upon us, and everyone in the media, every season preview has Carl Edwards finishing first in the points, Brad Keselowski second. Rather than wasting more ink trying to make some profound statement of how this year's Cup showdown in the minor leagues will play out, here it is. Carl Edwards will win the 2010 Nationwide Series championship. Cup drivers have won the last three Nationwide championships, and there's no reason to think that the interlopers who can't beat Jimmie Johnson on the sport's biggest stage will stop short of a four-peat beating up on the little guys. Brad Keselowski will likely finish second. And Cup drivers will win at least 30 of the 35 races run this season. Read More »

Nuts for Nationwide: 75,000 Eye-Openers, Plus 12 More

Nuts for Nationwide: 75,000 Eye-Openers, Plus 12 More

The announced attendance for Saturday’s NNS event was 15,000. 15,000. To put that in perspective, that’s 75,000 empty seats on the frontstretch. DC United of Major League Soccer draws more than 15,000 fans for many of their regular season games. Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC draws more than 15,000 for their Whelen All-American Series races. _Duke football_ draws more than 15,000 fans to the ditch that is Wallace Wade Stadium to watch one of the nation’s lowliest college football programs. Read More »

Nuts for Nationwide: Phoenix Racing Living Up to Its Name, On the Rise Once Again

Nuts for Nationwide: Phoenix Racing Living Up to Its Name, On the Rise Once Again

Phoenix Racing and Johnny Sauter proved a winning combination in 2005. Driving the entire season for James Finch’s No. 1 team, Sauter posted 11 Top 10 finishes, including a dominating win from the pole at Milwaukee, en route to finishing 12th in the Busch Series standings. Considering this, few were surprised to see Sauter return to the No. 1 car for the 2008 Nationwide Series season. This lightning didn’t strike twice. Following the season’s fifth race at Bristol, Sauter had not cracked the Top 10 in any race, and the No. 1 team found itself mired 22nd in the owner point standings. Like many other independent Nationwide teams out there, Phoenix Racing found itself struggling to keep up with the deluge of Cup teams at the front of NASCAR’s second-tier series. Read More »

28 Down, Seven To Go In NASCAR’S Second Series

28 Down, Seven To Go In NASCAR’S Second Series

In a sure sign that life moves pretty fast and I’m getting older by the day, we’re down to just seven races to go before the crowning of the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion. I feel like it was only yesterday that I wrote a “Nuts for Nationwide” column entitled “Four down, 31 to go.” And yet here we are at the very sharp end of the season with just a handful of races left on the schedule. This weekend, the drivers of the second series get a well-earned break and one final chance to juice up their engines for the stretch run. Both the top two drivers in the second series, Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards, will instead concentrate on what you could term their “day jobs” at the Sprint Cup level with each man itching to make solid starts to their respective Chase campaigns. So with a momentary pause at the Nationwide level, let’s take a look at the Top 10 drivers in the current standings and see who is where they should be, who isn’t and who’s overachieving. Read More »