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NASCAR’s Plate Races the Place for Drivers to Debut, Develop

NASCAR’s Plate Races the Place for Drivers to Debut, Develop

Restrictor plate racing, intentionally or not, is the closest thing to an equalizer that can be found in NASCAR sanctioned-events. It’s how Brian Keselowski and Kirk Shelmerdine have qualified for the Daytona 500 in self-owned race cars. It’s how 28 cars in a 43 car field can somehow lead laps in the same race. It’s how Brad Keselowski and Trevor Bayne won Sprint Cup races as a Nationwide Series regular. And, over in the Nationwide Series, it’s how the most unlikely drivers, from West Series regular Johnny Borneman III to former development driver Kyle Krisiloff have scored top 5 finishes. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Virginia 529, College Savings 250

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Virginia 529, College Savings 250

For the 16th consecutive race, a Cup regular bested the Nationwide Series field at the Richmond International Raceway. But at least the finish was worth watching. Kurt Busch came out only inches ahead of Denny Hamlin, who spent the second half of the event running qualifying laps to make up ground after missing his pit stall during a cycle of stops under yellow; the two cars made contact exiting turn 4 and both slid across the finish line. The win was the first for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Nationwide Series, one that brought tears to the eyes of the team owner, who was in the pits watching his brother score the win. Polesitter Kevin Harvick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Sam Hornish Jr. rounded out the top-5 finishers. 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 »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: O’Reilly 300

Even as a single-car operation, Roush Fenway Racing didn’t miss a beat after two weeks off. Overcoming a slow mid-race pit stop, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. passed polesitter Paul Menard and held off a furious charge from Denny Hamlin on the race’s final restart to score his second win of the 2012 campaign. Menard, Kasey Kahne, Hamlin and Austin Dillon rounded out the top 5. For Stenhouse and the blue oval brigade, the evening could best be described as bittersweet; while ... 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 »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Royal Purple 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Royal Purple 300

It was bound to happen sooner or later, and it finally did Saturday. The Nationwide Series regulars’ streak of wins to start 2012 ended at four in southern California, with polesitter Joey Logano pulling away from the field after a late restart to score Joe Gibbs Racing’s eighth consecutive victory at Auto Club Speedway. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Brad Keselowski, Brian Scott, and Austin Dillon rounded out the top 5. Read More »

Old Bristol Threatens New Problems for Nationwide Series Racing

Old Bristol Threatens New Problems for Nationwide Series Racing

Bruton Smith has spoken. Embarrassed by a second consecutive springtime of seeing his motorsports coliseum in Bristol, Tennessee dogged by attendance that made the grandstands look comparable to an XFL game, the man responsible for effectively killing North Wilkesboro, levigating Charlotte and effectively starting a war with the Kentucky Department of Transportation last summer has now announced that Bristol’s being reconfigured for the second time in five years. Come summer, Bristol will be back to being a one-grooved race track. Goodbye side-by-side racing, hello crashfest. Anyone that read 5 Points earlier this week knows full well this is not a move this writer is pleased about. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Ford EcoBoost 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Ford EcoBoost 300

It’s been nearly 14 years since Elliott Sadler won a Nationwide Series race at Bristol. Not anymore. A decade removed from the site of his first career Cup win, Sadler drove away from the field on a Lap 272 restart with old tires, scoring his second victory and fourth consecutive top-5 finish of the 2012 season. Sadler held off a bevy of Cup regulars behind him, with Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, polesitter Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounding out the top 5. Read More »