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Nuts For Nationwide

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 »

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 »