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Nuts For Nationwide

With Lucas Oil Raceway Gone in 2012, Replacing Montreal of Key Importance

With Lucas Oil Raceway Gone in 2012, Replacing Montreal of Key Importance

A couple of weeks ago in this column, I penned all the reasons I could think of that moving the Nationwide Series race at Lucas Oil Raceway to Indy's big track was an asinine decision. And true to form, NASCAR made that asinine decision this week, announcing that stock car racing's AAA division, along with the Grand-Am road racing series, would all be making appearances at the Brickyard during 400 weekend. The Indy purists who opposed the introduction of NASCAR to the venue back in 1994 must be at a loss for words. Rather than restating the number of significant issues there are that will plague any stock car race run on the 2.5 mile oval, now that the schedule has been changed and the damage done it's time to analyze what this means for the Nationwide Series. Read More »

Why TV Ratings Don’t Tell the Story of Today’s Nationwide Series

Why TV Ratings Don’t Tell the Story of Today’s Nationwide Series

A look at the TV ratings for this past Saturday's Nationwide Series event at Michigan International Speedway, and the casual observer would have to be forgiven for thinking all is well. Though broadcast this year in June instead of August, the single NNS event at Michigan drew ratings 25% than in 2010, part of a larger trend that sees the series viewer tallies up 20% over this point in the season a year ago. If only TV ratings and the health of the series were so simple a correlation. NASCAR and its broadcast partners may want to sell that story for all its worth, but the argument that “ratings are solid, all is well” is a red herring. And now, on a week that's seen a big-dollar team at the sport's highest level reportedly ready to say goodbye after 2011, chances are its one that will be repeated ad nauseum as the powers that by attempt to paint a pretty picture of what can only be described a black week for the sport. Read More »

Say No to the Brickyard

Say No to the Brickyard

It's back. The Indianapolis Star is "reporting":http://www.indystar.com/article/20110615/SPORTS01/106150321/IMS-may-add-Rolex-NASCAR-weekend that while talks have primarily centered around bringing a Grand-Am race to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's road course, talk has also sparked about moving the Nationwide Series race currently run the evening before the Brickyard 400 on the IRP short track to the big track itself. With attendance on the wane at the famed speedway, track executives are reportedly considering means to increase revenues, as well as Sunday attendance, for a date that until less than 20 years ago was a pipe dream for stock car racers. Read More »

RaceDaySponsor.com: The Future of the Nationwide Series?

The story of Tim Viens, President and CEO of RaceDaySponsor.com, begins as so many's involvement in racing before him. He was a race fan. “I was friends with Kevin Lepage up in Vermont for many years, and just through conversations at the track, I met with him, hung out, jumped over the wall a few times, and just helped him out whenever I could” recalls Viens. “A couple years ago, we had a chat at Daytona, he was looking for sponsorship, asked if I knew anyone that would be interested. I started asking questions about what it would cost, if you could do a single race…I didn’t realize you could do a single race. About a week later, I was thinking how cool would it be if a guy like me that has a small business could get involved in this sport?” Read More »

The Future of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. On the Line at Charlotte

The Future of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. On the Line at Charlotte

The story leaving Iowa this past Sunday was bigger than Ricky Stenhouse Jr. It was the breakthrough that an entire series worth of competitors had been waiting months for; a Nationwide Series regular took the checkered flag for the first time in 2011. That being said, the story now shifts to Stenhouse himself. Heading into race weekend at Charlotte, the Nationwide Series' newest winner not only comes into Saturday riding a wave of momentum that has his No. 6 team in prime position to win Roush Fenway Racing their first NASCAR championship since 2007...he also has earned his shot at the big time. With fellow prospect Trevor Bayne out of the seat for another week, Stenhouse will take the wheel of the Wood Brothers' No. 21 Ford for another of NASCAR's most prestigious races...the 600 miler. Read More »

Even Short Term, The Absence of Trevor Bayne a Losing Situation for All

Even Short Term, The Absence of Trevor Bayne a Losing Situation for All

As the Nationwide Series heads to Darlington, it will for the second weekend in a row be devoid of one of its title contenders and most recognizable faces. Trevor Bayne, the youngest driver in history to win the Daytona 500, will not race at the Lady in Black this evening, despite being released from the Mayo Clinic earlier this week. Taking his place in the No. 16 car again this weekend will be Roush Fenway Racing development driver Chris Buescher. Mystery still shrouds the surroundings regarding Bayne's hospitalization and time away from racing. A team press release stated that Bayne was admitted complaining from nausea, fatigue and vision impairment, apparently the result of an inflammatory condition. Read More »

Nationwide and the Never-Ending Identity Crisis

Those who are not supportive of the preponderance of Cup drivers double-dipping and dominating NNS competition have long derided the series as “Cup Lite,” meaning every single change that everyone from the title sponsor to the sanctioning body have thrown at the former Grand National ranks has proven incapable of shedding that abrasive reputation. The new identity remains elusive. Read More »

Nationwide Superteams Have No One To Thank But Themselves After Indian Trick Bites at Texas

Nationwide Superteams Have No One To Thank But Themselves After Indian Trick Bites at Texas

It's perhaps fitting that as the Nationwide Series heads to Alabama to tackle the high banks of Talladega, one of the stories garnering attention from the series and its last outing has to do with something, well, Indian. After all, there's no other circuit on NASCAR's national touring slate that is rumored to be built on an Indian burial ground. The story is the old “Indian trick,” which longtime series stalwart Means Racing was attempting to utilize in running the distance at Texas last weekend; that is, to take the less worn left front tire and put it on the right front of the car. Whether or not that tire swap was responsible, Chris Schendel and his No. 52 car were on highlight reels for days after cutting a tire in turn 1, pushing up the track and smack into the path of Kyle Busch, ending Busch's shot at the win as he was running down race leader Carl Edwards. (For the record, kudos to Allen Bestwick for breaking this little tidbit...it's not often you'll see an ESPN staffer digging for such nuggets in the back of the garage.) Read More »

As the Nationwide Series Breaks New Ground at Texas, Much of the Old Guard is On the Sidelines

As the Nationwide Series Breaks New Ground at Texas, Much of the Old Guard is On the Sidelines

Heading into the first Nationwide Series night race ever at the Texas Motor Speedway, two teams synonymous with success in NASCAR's AAA division are in the headlines, but not for reasons consummate with their place in the sport's recent history. For two teams, a historic trip that would ordinarily see their Fords storming to the front of the field is just the latest week in a struggle to stay viable, if you can call it that, shells of their former selves on and off the race track. Read More »

Roush Fenway Racing Prospects Battling Team, Career History at Fontana

Roush Fenway Racing Prospects Battling Team, Career History at Fontana

It's hard not to think of Roush Fenway Racing whenever NASCAR's traveling circus heads west to Fontana and the Auto Club Speedway. With 15 wins across NASCAR's three national touring series, and a list of winners including 2002 Nationwide Series champion Greg Biffle, 2003 Cup champion Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin among those that have contributed to the trophy haul, out west has felt right at home for the blue oval brigade's flagship. And while it's been over four years since the outfit's Nationwide Series program has visited victory lane at the two-mile oval, Roush has been far from an afterthought in the running order; they've placed at least one car in the top 5 in every series race run at the facility since 2008 and in the top 10 since the spring race of 2003 (that race was won by Matt Kenseth driving what was then John Reiser's Nationwide Ford, so the tally arguably goes back even further). Read More »