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Looking Back: A Surprising 2012 for the Nationwide Series

Looking Back: A Surprising 2012 for the Nationwide Series

Anyone that’s followed NASCAR’s scheduling habits the past decade was far from surprised that one of the sure-fire races of the Nationwide Series season (Lucas Oil Raceway) was yanked from the schedule in favor of a 250-mile jaunt at the Brickyard. Never mind the logic that less crappy stock car racing is still crappy stock car racing. But having said that as the Nationwide Series approaches its debut on the big track in Indy, the 2012 season has been, well, surprising, on a number of fronts. Enjoying a compelling title race for the second consecutive year after an ugly stretch of Cup dominance from 2006-2010, this year’s campaign has actually been worth watching. Now, heading down the summer stretch, here’s a few of those surprises that have made the season just that. Read More »

Three Reasons Chicagoland’s the Wrong Place for Nationwide’s Sunday

Three Reasons Chicagoland’s the Wrong Place for Nationwide’s Sunday

There’s a number of things “wrong” with the Chicagoland Speedway. It’s about as cookie-cutter as cookie-cutters come. Despite having the name of the Windy City in its title, the venue is about as close to Chicago as the ill-fated Nashville Superspeedway was to the Music City. It’s hold the (in)distinction of kicking off the abomination known as the Chase on the Cup side. And on the Nationwide side, though it’s hard to complain about a standalone weekend that sees the AAA ranks get their shot at a Sunday race date where they’re center stage, Chicagoland Speedway’s the wrong venue for such a rare opportunity race. Read More »

Eric McClure Seeks Return to Normalcy After Trying Start to 2012

Eric McClure Seeks Return to Normalcy After Trying Start to 2012

Sitting down to do my first interview with Eric McClure in nearly a year, there was no avoiding an elephant in the room; namely, the harrowing wreck that McClure endured at Talladega the end of April, one that sidelined the Virginia-native until just a few weekends ago at Road America. “I thought this was it” said McClure when asked if he had time to even think before his Camry nearly knocked down the interior retaining wall on Talladega’s backstretch, hitting headfirst at 185 mph. Asked whether his long-time family background in racing was of any benefit in dealing with arguably the scariest crash the Nationwide Series has seen in the COT era, the answer was blunt: “You think you’re prepared for something like that and you’re not. No one is. Anyone that says they are is lying.” Read More »

Truck Series Contenders Set to Invade Nationwide Series Race at Dover

Truck Series Contenders Set to Invade Nationwide Series Race at Dover

While the Chase is doing NASCAR fans everywhere a favor by making the points race irrelevant for another three months, the Nationwide Series has a repeat of their Stenhouse vs. Sadler battle from a year ago brewing, with the standings tighter than they were a season ago and both teams combining for five race wins already in 2012. But even as that series heads to Dover to tackle the high banks of the Monster Mile, it’s also going to play host to another championship battle…even if it’s not for points. Because when the green flag drops on Saturday, positions three, four and five in the Truck Series standings will be taking it alongside the Nationwide Series regulars. Read More »

Nationwide Series Flashbacks for Biagi’s Return to Racing

Nationwide Series Flashbacks for Biagi’s Return to Racing

_Whoever said you can’t go home again obviously didn’t write the NASCAR schedule, as the circuit currently has returned for the first of two weekends spent in the Charlotte area. And the same can be said for Biagi-DenBeste Racing, returning to Nationwide competition after a four-year hiatus. It’s a rare example of a team falling away only to return to the Nationwide Series, and a welcome addition back to the fold._ Read More »

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Nationwide Tackles Darlington

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Nationwide Tackles Darlington

It’s not quite time for this week’s Nationwide Series Breakdown, but here’s a taste of the good, the bad and the ugly facing the Nationwide Series heading into Darlington tonight. *The Good* Just as was the case with Richard Childress Racing and Turner Motorsports at Richmond, NASCAR did nothing more than slap Penske Racing on the wrist after they were found to have modified front bumpers at Talladega. The crew chiefs of the Nos. 12 and 22 cars were fined and placed on probation without any points penalties or suspensions, meaning for the well-endowed operation at Penske, life will simply go on. Read More »

Four Nationwide Regulars Aiming To End Cup Dominance At Richmond

Four Nationwide Regulars Aiming To End Cup Dominance At Richmond

One year ago, a simple change to the points system gave the Nationwide Series its first series regular champion since 2005. And though Ricky Stenhouse Jr. scored two wins and was a top-10 fixture in 2011, it was still a year that saw Sprint Cup drivers utterly dominating the season stat sheet, even if that didn’t equal points. Not so in 2012. Between red-hot starts for title contenders Stenhouse and Elliott Sadler, Nationwide regulars have won all but one of the season’s first six races. Now, the point leaders actually have further legitimacy to their spots atop the standings. They're a threat to win wherever the race is being run and able to run with any part-time all-star that chooses to double dip. Read More »

The Non-Sensical Risk and Stalls of the Nationwide Series Schedule

The Non-Sensical Risk and Stalls of the Nationwide Series Schedule

Fans would be forgiven if they mistakenly believed that a Nationwide Series race was on the docket for the upcoming weekend at Kansas Speedway; in the short history of the track, the Cup Series has never contested a race at the cookie-cutter facility without the Nationwide stable in tandem. But alas, while the Truck Series are getting the companion billing this coming Saturday, the same can’t be said for NASCAR’s AAA, who, only one event off their first two-week break from competition since 1996…are off again. Read More »

Three Years Later, TV Coverage Still Strangling the Nationwide Series

Three Years Later, TV Coverage Still Strangling the Nationwide Series

On the other side of the tracks, er, garage, though, life is nowhere near so promising. Sponsorship is still sorely lacking for just about every independent operation on the circuit (and even for the big guns, remember that Trevor Bayne still doesn’t have a ride for Texas). Start-and-parks are still able to make the field on a regular basis. The teams that are racing are doing so on scuffed tires with used engines and limited car stables. For as much as the competitiveness has been flourishing on track, the overall health of the series… and the business model that keeps its teams on track, is no better off than a season ago. Read More »