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Nuts For Nationwide

Nuts for Nationwide: 24 Down;  11 To Go In the Second Series

Nuts for Nationwide: 24 Down; 11 To Go In the Second Series

It’s hard to believe there are only eleven scheduled races left in the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series and, unlike in the previous two seasons, we actually have a genuine title chase. Who needs the manufactured excitement of the senior circuit’s Chase for the Sprint Cup when you have a three-way shootout for the inaugural championship under the Nationwide banner? Two of the three protagonists in the battle for the title are, predictably, Sprint Cup regulars in Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer. But the third, JR Motorsports' Brad Keselowski, has had the sort of breakout season that suggests his might be a name we’ll be hearing for years to come in Cup as well as Nationwide. This weekend’s race is a critical step along the way as home to the driver of the #88 Chevrolet is Rochester Hills, Michigan – just two hours from the site of tomorrow’s race at Michigan International Speedway. Read More »

Nuts for Nationwide : Adios Mexico, Now Only Canada Remains On NASCAR’s International Slate

Nuts for Nationwide : Adios Mexico, Now Only Canada Remains On NASCAR’s International Slate

So the rationale for scratching the Mexican race and shifting focus to the NASCAR Corona Series makes sense. Investing in organic growth with Mexican drivers and races at tracks throughout the country - rather than the one big one bang approach – is much more likely to produce long-term results. And on the flip side another American circuit will pick up an all-important race date. The word is the Iowa Speedway will be the lucky recipient, but it’s not hard to question the wisdom of the timing of the announcement. Read More »

Nuts for Nationwide: Joey Logano Where He Needs to Be

Nuts for Nationwide: Joey Logano Where He Needs to Be

After Joey Logano convincingly scored his first Nationwide Series win at Kentucky Speedway in only his third series start, talk ignited about when, not if, he should move to the Cup series. While there were plenty of Frontstretch readers out there that stressed the need for Logano to remain in the Nationwide Series for 2009 before making his jump to Cup, I was not one of them. Kentucky had me convinced that should Logano keep putting a hurt on the Nationwide Series field, he could and should be moved to the Cup series next season. After watching this past weekend’s race at Milwaukee, however, I’m going to need to step back from that assertion. I fully confess, I jumped the gun too soon and got caught up in the hype that surrounded the phenom’s first win. Read More »

Sliced Bread : Yep, I’m A Believer…

Sliced Bread : Yep, I’m A Believer…

Sport – of whatever flavor or variety you prefer - is littered with cases of unfulfilled promise. Youthful exuberance and unfettered possibility generates unbelievable enthusiasm and expectation, but more often than not, fails to translate to the biggest stage of all. Some prospects freeze in the bright lights, beaten down by the magnitude of the moment. Others were simply not as good as their advanced billing and should never really have been there in the first place. A rookie phenom’s “potential for success” has an ephemeral quality with a fragile will-o-the-wisp consistency. Yes, it could happen and the budding star might become one of the greatest of them all but those cases are, for obvious reasons, rare. Sometimes it does happen as scripted and a kid comes from nowhere to become first a star, then a legend, and finally an icon. More often than not, early promise burns out – snuffed out by a combination of being pushed too fast too early and unrealistic expectations generated by too much hype. Read More »

Are We Primed For the Closest Nationwide Championship Race In Years?

Are We Primed For the Closest Nationwide Championship Race In Years?

In the five weeks since I last penned (or should that be typed) a Nationwide Recap column, we’ve seen racing in a variety of different venues encompassing short tracks, road courses, super speedways and the more traditional mile and a half tracks. The schedule has tested both the skills of the drivers as well unearthing numerous logistical challenges – not least transporting cars and equipment to and from Mexico City. Following the conclusion of the Darlington race this evening, the Nationwide Series will take a deserved week off; before a spell of 16 straight weeks of racing that will run through the second Richmond date in early September. So with a third of the season in the books, give or take the odd percentage point or two, let’s take a look at some of the general themes that have emerged – or are beginning to emerge - in this inaugural season for new sponsor Nationwide. Read More »

Should NASCAR Race Outside the US?

Should NASCAR Race Outside the US?

The first commercial produced by Nextel to mark their arrival into NASCAR at the beginning of the 2004 season was a one minute long spot called "Anthem" featuring a rousing soundtrack and clips of racing action from the early days of racing on Daytona Beach right through to the then-present day. The ad was Nextel's way of honoring the history and tradition of the Cup Series, as well as showing NASCAR fans they understood what they were taking on. Here's an excerpt from the end of the voiceover that accompanies the ad: _You want to know about America?_ _It's in the squeal of rubber, the scream of the engine and the roar of humanity…seeing one of its own triumph against the odds. It's there in a last lap duel. Joyous as Victory Lane, devastating as hitting the rail. Here, life lessons are learnt and man it's as obvious as the number of the car in pole position._ _It's simple - NASCAR born in America._ Read More »

Nuts for Nationwide: Field-Filling Rearing Its Ugly Head Again

Nuts for Nationwide: Field-Filling Rearing Its Ugly Head Again

Perhaps one of the best barometers to gauge the health of a racing series is to look the weekly entry list. A once over of the Nationwide Series entry lists so far this season might not seem concerning. Sans the season's second race at Fontana, every race has drawn at least 43 teams to the track, with full fields taking the green flag at six of the series' first seven races. What these lists don't show, however, is that field-filler teams are running rampant in the series, at a level unseen in NASCAR's top tier series since Joe Ruttman took the green flag at Rockingham without a pit crew during a Sprint Cup race in 2004. Read More »

Nuts For Nationwide : New Sponsor, Same Old Issues

Nuts For Nationwide : New Sponsor, Same Old Issues

If you'll forgive me for going all Jean Girard on you, the first two weeks of the Nationwide Series bring to mind a line from an old French proverb; "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." Or in other words, the more things change the more they stay the same. With a couple of races of the 2008 season now in the books we've already seen a number of issues that have bedeviled the second most popular motorsport in America over the past couple of years; domination of moonlighting Cup drivers, "Start and Park" entrants, incomplete fields and a plethora of sponsor related issues. For the incoming title sponsor, Nationwide, none of these problems can be considered surprises but one thing is for sure, they are issues that are unlikely to go away until they're addressed at the highest level. Results-wise, it's been the Stewart and Busch show with the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers finishing first and second in both races. In Daytona, Stewart led only the final three laps and won by the scant margin of just .259 seconds. Read More »