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Nuts For Nationwide

Subtraction by Addition for JR Motorsports’ No. 88 Team

Subtraction by Addition for JR Motorsports’ No. 88 Team

For just about every organization out there, there’s a magic number of cars that just seems to work. For all its tradition and talent, Richard Childress Racing has never been able to make a four-car stable work as well as it has with three teams. Penske Racing dropped Sam Hornish’s Cup team last season, and ended up batting a thousand in terms of putting cars in the Chase. And over in the Nationwide Series, that magic number for JR Motorsports is apparently one. Because 2012 has perpetuated a stretch going on for years now, one that has seen the de facto Hendrick Motorsports Nationwide program struggle even to be a consistent top 10 presence in NASCAR’s AAA. Ever since bringing the No. 7 car back unexpectedly to full-timer status in the spring of 2010, JR Motorsports has gone from title contender to series regular. Read More »

More of the Same for Jeremy Clements, No. 51 Team in 2012

More of the Same for Jeremy Clements, No. 51 Team in 2012

There are few drivers in the Nationwide Series garage that can stake more claim to the title “hard luck driver” than Jeremy Clements. The driver who for a brief moment in time was a Joe Gibbs Racing driver to support Kyle Busch was one of many development drivers whose big ride never came. Instead, Clements has spent the last few seasons behind the wheel of the family ride, living the life of a NASCAR underdog. The hard luck continued into Daytona. Clements started off strong in the 300-mile season opener, hooking up with Josh Wise in what proved to be a successful tandem, as the two managed to crack the top 10 under green and ran inside the top 20 for much of the afternoon. Read More »

Now What? 2012 Looking Ambiguous, Ominous for the Nationwide Series

Now What? 2012 Looking Ambiguous, Ominous for the Nationwide Series

For all the steps forward the Nationwide Series has enjoyed in 2011, be it watching series regulars win four races or the championship being limited to Nationwide Series regulars (this will mark the first season since 2005 a Cup regular hasn't contested the full NNS schedule), it's hard to enjoy the final few races of this season. And that's a damn shame, seeing as how Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Elliott Sadler are in the midst of the tightest championship battle this series has seen since that same 2005 season that saw Clint Bowyer stalk Martin Truex Jr., making up ground on the eventual champ over the final month of the season before falling short at Homestead. Read More »

Score Four for the Regulars: The Biggest Wins of 2011

Score Four for the Regulars: The Biggest Wins of 2011

There is no type of track on the Nationwide Series circuit that has played host to Cup dominance of the AAA ranks more than the intermediate oval, and of those Charlotte's fall race has seen more than its share. After all, this was the race back in 2006 that saw Kevin Harvick clinch the Nationwide Series crown as the first in a stretch of five consecutive double dippers to win the minor league title while driving full-time in Cup. And it's been six long years, dating back to 2004, since a Nationwide regular visited Charlotte's victory lane in the fall race. It's a depressing set of recent memories to have of a return to NASCAR's hometown. That being said, anyone that remembers back to 2004 still remembers Mike Bliss' late three-wide charge to victory that left both Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson in the wake of the Rockwell Automation Chevrolet, long before Joe Gibbs Racing's Nationwide program became the powerhouse it is today. Read More »

2011 May As Well Be Over

2011 May As Well Be Over

Want to read about Turner Motorsports? Check out Wednesday's column. The scenarios, rumors and non-nonsensical facts that were running wild around Reed Sorenson's firing earlier this week haven't gone anywhere, with the picture of how the third-place driver in points lost his ride five races short of the season's end still opaque at best. Regardless of how it came about, Sorenson is still without a racecar with the Kansas race weekend looming. Suddenly, a three-horse race is now a two-car battle between Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Elliott Sadler. Are the pieces in place for a great duel to the finish? Sure. With only 22 markers between the two and five races to go, the ever-consistent No. 2 team needs only one ill-timed spin or trading of paint from Stenhouse and the No. 6 to get back into the hunt, even without a win on the 2011 season. Read More »

Middle-Class Meltdown: Sorenson, Turner Latest Victims Of Growing NASCAR Epidemic

Middle-Class Meltdown: Sorenson, Turner Latest Victims Of Growing NASCAR Epidemic

Less than a month ago, NASCAR's two lower national touring series were rocked by the news that Kevin Harvick, Incorporated was ceasing its racing operations following the close of the 2011 season. It was the first time in recent memory that a well-sponsored, upper middle-class racing organization was impacted by the harsh financial and competitive realities of today's Nationwide Series, built as a development division combined with lifetime racing veterans that, at the moment, is creating homes for neither. Less than a month later, disaster struck again. Read More »

5 Nationwide Series Rides That Oughta Happen

5 Nationwide Series Rides That Oughta Happen

_As previously discussed in Five Points to Ponder two weeks ago, even the drivers at the top of the Nationwide Series food chain are facing a great deal of uncertainty regarding their futures in the series for 2012. Be it losing sponsors, lacking sponsors or still waiting for a contract renewal, there's more than a full field of drivers wondering if they'll be taking the wheel at Daytona come February. Here's five rides that absolutely need to happen for the Nationwide ranks in 2012._ *CHRIS BUESCHER* It's a shame Carl Edwards didn't pull a Jeff Gordon and get completely out of Nationwide racing for 2012, because over in the ARCA ranks the Ford camp has quite the prospect waiting in the wings. The younger brother of James (who's busy threatening for a Truck Series title this season), Chris has been a regular in the ARCA Racing Series this year, and has made quite the name for himself. Read More »

ARCA Road Racers Add Flavor to Stout Nationwide Field at the Glen

ARCA Road Racers Add Flavor to Stout Nationwide Field at the Glen

Coming off what was a stellar standalone stretch featuring back-to-back short track races, the Nationwide Series turns left (and right) into Watkins Glen International. Just as with any companion race, there's plenty of chatter surrounding the Cup regulars ready to leave their mark, be they five-time champion Jimmie Johnson in a rare minor league start or Kurt Busch filling in for the injured Brad Keselowski. There's also the usual cast of road ringers, with 2008 Montreal winner Ron Fellows, Kyle Kelley and others making an appearance. The lesser-told story is that of the ARCA Racing Series entrants that will be making the rounds on the New York road course this weekend. Three different situations, three different teams, and three different ways that a few of the lesser known drivers in the field just might have a dramatic impact on Saturday's Zippo 200. Read More »

Edwards, ESPN Wavering in Face of Changing Nationwide Series

For those fans out there that believe in, and in the significance of, the Nationwide regular competing unmolested for the Nationwide Series championship, the last week has brought two pieces of positive news. For one, ESPN demonstrated some (albeit minor) improvement in their broadcast of the 200-miler from Loudon this past Saturday, dedicating time both early and throughout the broadcast to discuss the ongoing Nationwide Series championship battle and the ever-tight battle between Reed Sorenson, Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. even as Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Buschwhacker Inc. were busy leading all the laps. Read More »