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Nationwide Series Breakdown: Virginia 529 College Savings 250

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Virginia 529 College Savings 250

Although Friday’s event was largely uneventful at the front, the same could not be said for the title contenders that endured a wild 250 laps. Sam Hornish Jr. cut a tire down after contact with teammate Ryan Blaney on lap 156, spinning into the turn 1 wall and eventually backing down directly into Timmy Hill’s path. The resulting wreckage left both ends of Hornish’s Dodge crunched and the fourth title contender with an ugly 30th place result. Even more notable was both the wreck and recovery of Elliott Sadler, who spun himself out trying to pass Ricky Stenhouse Jr., but rebounded with crash damage to salvage a 13th place result. Read More »

Nationwide Breakdown: NRA American Warrior 300

Nationwide Breakdown: NRA American Warrior 300

Kevin Harvick ran away and hid from the field for 157 of 195 laps on Saturday night. Unfortunately for him, he didn't get to lead the last lap. After a late-race caution for debris, then a wreck that resulted in a red flag, Harvick had to withstand the onslaught of Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. with the help of Brad Keselowski in order to win the NRA American Warrior 300. That's when dominance turned to disaster. Taking advantage of the short run, Stenhouse made a pass on the outside of turns one and two and held onto the lead for the last ¾ of a lap to score his fourth win of the season. Brad Keselowski, who pushed Stenhouse past Harvick on the final lap was able to hold off Harvick to come home in second. Harvick was forced to settle for third while Elliott Sadler and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top five. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Food City 250

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Food City 250

Joey Logano emerged victorious yet again in Nationwide Series competition Friday night, capitalizing on a strong qualifying effort and off-sequence pit strategy en route to score his sixth trophy of 2012 and his first at Bristol. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top 5. The story of the night emerged with less than 10 laps to go after a lap 242 caution that saw Austin Dillon slip up and slam polesitter Trevor Bayne into the fence. With points leader Sadler in position to challenge for the victory, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. executed a textbook bump and run on the lap 249 restart, driving off to a runner-up finish. Stenhouse went to Sadler’s car immediately post-race to try and clear the air, but Sadler in his post-race remarks noted that the move would open the door for the rest of the season in terms of racing aggressively with the championship on the line. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: NAPA 200

Nationwide Series Breakdown: NAPA 200

It took more than a year, but Justin Allgaier finally found redemption for his fuel mileage shortcomings at Road America a season ago. In yet another Montreal race dotted with late-race yellows, Allgaier capitalized when leader Jacques Villeneuve got complacent in turn 6 trying to save fuel, bumped the No. 22, and took the lead for good. It was his third career Nationwide Series win, scoring a Sunday sweep for Turner Motorsports (Nelson Piquet Jr. had scored the Truck win at Michigan earlier in the day). Sam Hornish Jr., Villeneuve, Elliott Sadler, and Ron Fellows rounded out the top 5. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Zippo 200 at the Glen

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Zippo 200 at the Glen

Watkins Glen saw the return of Carl Edwards to the Nationwide Series after a 20-race hiatus that was designed so that Edwards could focus more on the Sprint Cup Series. Well, Edwards seemed to really miss spending his Saturday afternoons in the car; so, with support from Subway, Edwards returned to the No. 60 that had been parked due to lack of support since Las Vegas. Despite almost no practice on Friday due to rain (he literally did the absolute minimum required in order to get a spot in the qualifying order), Edwards turned in the second fastest time in qualifying. Read More »

Edwards’ Cup Troubles Benefit Nationwide Teammate Stenhouse

Edwards’ Cup Troubles Benefit Nationwide Teammate Stenhouse

Asked this past week at Pocono why he would be making his first Nationwide Series start of the year some six months into the season, Carl Edwards gave the expected answer: “It gives me a chance to have some fun and we can practice something we want to try on the Cup car.” But when asked if he’d be running any more races in 2012 after seven consecutive seasons of full-time double duty, Edwards remarked “This one just came up. There is the other factor that Ricky [Stenhouse] and those guys wanted someone at the road course to bounce information off of.” There’s two facts to be taken from that statement. One, this race came about spontaneously, with longtime Cup sponsor Subway being the one to foot the bill for the Saturday race. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: U.S. Cellular 250

Nationwide Series Breakdown: U.S. Cellular 250

Oh, what a difference a week can make. Following a late-race (and hotly-debated) black flag while leading at last weekend's Indiana 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that relegated the championship points leader to 15th and a mere one-point standings lead over Austin Dillon, Elliott Sadler took to Iowa Speedway Saturday, August 4, with a vengeance. After starting from the pole, Sadler took the race lead from Justin Allgaier late in the going, leading 60 laps en route to his third win of the 2012 season. "They are not taking the championship from us!" cried Sadler after crossing the line by about a second over Allgaier. He should have plenty to cheer about -- following his race win and a disappointing showing from Dillon, the Richard Childress Racing driver gave himself some much-needed breathing room in the points standings, increasing his lead to 18. Read More »

Nationwide Breakdown: Indiana 250

Nationwide Breakdown: Indiana 250

The Nationwide Series debuted at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday as part of the track's "Super Weekend." The 100-lap race started out looking like it was going to be a Kyle Busch walkover, shifted into a Elliott Sadler points lead protector, then finished up with Roger Penske's first ever stock car win at the fabled racetrack. Most importantly of all, there were actual people sitting there watching it all unfold. While the rumblings among some fans and most of the media was that the idea to move the Nationwide Series from Lucas Oil Raceway to the Speedway was a horrendous idea, attendees came out in some surprising numbers. While NASCAR's overall estimate might be generous at 40,000 fans, it was, indeed a typical Nationwide crowd. Once the checkered flag flew, Brad Keselowski was in the Winner's Circle celebrating the victory in the inaugural Nationwide race at the Brickyard. Read More »

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 »