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Nuts For Nationwide: 2013 Season Preview, Part Two

Nuts For Nationwide: 2013 Season Preview, Part Two

In part two of the 2013 Nationwide Series preview, let’s take a look at the drivers I expect to finish in the top 10 of the overall points standings. Check out part one of the preview "here!":http://www.frontstretch.com/krutherford/42330/ 10. Brian Scott After a tenure with Joe Gibbs Racing, Scott moves over to Richard Childress Racing, effectively switching rides with Elliott Sadler. I've seen some improvement from the Idaho native over the years, culminating thus far with two top-5 finishes and 11 top 10s in 2012. But I want to see more. A change of pace may be what he needs, and now, he's paired with a team that nearly won the championship two years in a row. I'd rank him higher, as a result but there's still a lot of unknowns with Scott, who has yet to win in the series. Read More »

Nuts For Nationwide: 2013 Season Preview, Part One

Nuts For Nationwide: 2013 Season Preview, Part One

The NASCAR Nationwide Series might just have its best year in awhile in 2013. After years of Sprint Cup domination, whether in single races, series championships or both, the division is beginning to take on an identity of its own, solidifying itself beyond just a playground for the sport's elite on Saturdays. In preparation for the NASCAR premiere race next weekend, down at Daytona, let's take a look at some of the top stories and drivers coming into 2013 in the form of preseason awards. These are the drivers, teams and tracks I expect to be considered the best at the end of the year, starting with smaller distinctions and moving towards the eventual champion. As the season hasn't even kicked off yet, this is pure speculation... but I feel good about my choices. For part two of the preview, check back next Friday. Read More »

Throwback Thursday: Jason Keller’s Future Looks Bleak

Throwback Thursday: Jason Keller’s Future Looks Bleak

_Attention, NASCAR fans... welcome to Throwback Thursday! Every week, from now until the start of the 2013 season we'll be giving you, our readers the favorite stories we treasure from our writers over the past few seasons. Today we focus on Toni Montgomery, a our open-wheel editor and Nationwide Series expert who shares pieces that have proven meaningful to both her and our fans through the years._ _This article originally ran April 23rd, 2006. Take a look through, see what two rookies in particular are mentioned in this article and then wonder, "Where are they now?" in this age of NASCAR contraction._ I gave the Buschwhackers a rest the last time I took my turn for Second Fiddle, but it looks like I need to revisit the subject again. This time around, though, I have a few other observations on things going on in the Busch Series, specifically concerning Jason Keller, Busch Series veterans, Busch Series rookies, and the fans. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Ford EcoBoost 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Ford EcoBoost 300

After a late-race wreck drastically changed the championship picture at Phoenix courtesy of Elliott Sadler’s troubles, the season finale race at Homestead was tame by comparison. Though Sadler started strong and even challenged for the lead during the first run of the race, by event’s end it was business as usual, with Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. comfortably ahead of Sadler, who had faded in the final stretches. The result was Stenhouse and the No. 6 team easily scoring their second consecutive Nationwide Series championship, with Sadler holding off teammate Austin Dillon by only one point for second in the standings. Read More »

Handicapping the 2012 Nationwide Series Finale at Homestead

Handicapping the 2012 Nationwide Series Finale at Homestead

One race. Three hundred miles. Three contenders left. Let’s handicap the 2013 Nationwide Series championship race as it ends in Homestead: *Austin Dillon, No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet* *3rd in points (-25)* *2 wins, 26 top 10s* One race. Three hundred miles. Three contenders left. Let’s handicap the 2013 Nationwide Series championship race as it ends in Homestead: *Austin Dillon, No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet* *3rd in points (-25)* *2 wins, 26 top 10s* Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Great Clips 200

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Great Clips 200

If Joey Logano has taught the Nationwide Series anything in 2012, it’s that there is still no contest: Joe Gibbs Racing still has the strongest cars in the game. Though he was challenged late following a lap 198 crash triggered by championship contender Elliott Sadler, Logano was able to hold off JGR teammate Brian Vickers to score his ninth win of the 2012 season. Vickers, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch, and Austin Dillon rounded out the top-5 finishers. Read More »

Vickers a 2013 NNS Title Contender…Is That Enough?

Vickers a 2013 NNS Title Contender…Is That Enough?

There are very few drivers that have taken to the track in 2012 more deserving of a full-time ride in anything than Brian Vickers. A stellar part-time performance with Michael Waltrip Racing after finding himself out of a job following the closure of Red Bull Racing has kept Vickers in Toyota’s good graces, as he will drive a Nationwide car full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013. It will mark Vickers’ first full Nationwide campaign since 2003, where he won the championship driving for Rick Hendrick. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: O’Reilly Challenge

Nationwide Series Breakdown: O’Reilly Challenge

Although Kyle Busch showed flashes of his past dominance in NNS competition early at Texas, Kevin Harvick cruised to a relatively easy win in his final start of the season on Saturday, leading 127 of the 200 laps run. Ryan Blaney trimmed the margin of victory by more than two seconds during the final green-flag run but was unable to catch the No. 33, settling for a career-best runner-up finish. Polesitter Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top 5 in this event dominated by Sprint Cup regulars. Read More »

Consistent Inconsistency: NASCAR’s Latest Licensing Episode

Consistent Inconsistency: NASCAR’s Latest Licensing Episode

While the usual suspects will be battling for the win at Texas come Saturday’s Nationwide Series event, one driver that will not be there is Nur Ali. The driver who two weeks ago made history as the first Pakistani to start a Nationwide Series race was not approved to run Texas, with NASCAR sending Ali back to shorter tracks to garner more experience. A replacement for Rick Ware Racing’s No. 41 car remains to be named. Of course, what else would one expect from NASCAR, the sanctioning body whose only consistency is inconsistency? If there’s one element of their governance that has proven the definition of subjective and impulsive, it’s with regard to competitors’ licenses. Read More »

The No. 7 and the Risk of Backwards Development

The No. 7 and the Risk of Backwards Development

My first visit to the Daytona International Speedway came as a writer in 2010. Though the weekend would eventually be defined by a pothole and the Daytona 500 going from day to night, entering Speedweeks the story was one Danica Patrick. Danica-mania was coming to NASCAR, to an extent that the ESPN broadcast booth and execs took questions in the media center regarding their coverage of her debut race. Read More »