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Nationwide Series Breakdown: O’Reilly Challenge

Nationwide Series Breakdown: O’Reilly Challenge

When all was was said and done Saturday, Roush Fenway Racing had clinched the manufacturer's championship in the Nationwide ranks for Ford. Just as expected. The only difference is...it wasn't Carl Edwards who did the clinching. Despite leading a race-high 157 laps, Edwards couldn't close the deal for the final six. Trevor Bayne came out of nowhere on a late-race restart, stormed past Edwards, and held off a hard-charging Denny Hamlin to score a long-awaited first NNS win. Hamlin, Edwards, Clint Bowyer and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top 5. 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 »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Kansas Lottery 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Kansas Lottery 300

One shouldn't be fooled by the nine lead changes that show up on the scoresheet. Or that the pass for the win occurred inside 15 laps to go. In reality, this race was over almost as soon as it began. In leading 173 laps, Brad Keselowski delivered the most dominating performance the Nationwide Series has seen in recent memory, winning at Kansas Saturday after passing Carl Edwards (who was on four fresh tires) despite having only scuffs for the final run. Keselowski averaged a lead between eight and 11 seconds for much of the afternoon, with Edwards, Elliott Sadler, Paul Menard and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounding out the top 5. 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 »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: OneMain Financial 200

Nationwide Series Breakdown: OneMain Financial 200

This one was practically over before it began. After an early race caution for Timmy Hill's splitter being jammed off his car, Carl Edwards powered by polesitter Elliott Sadler on lap 11 and never looked back, leading 179 circuits en route to a commanding win, his seventh of the 2011 season. Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. rounded out the top-5 finishers. Keselowski remarked that he felt “first in class” after the showing that Edwards put on in the No. 60 car, and that was about as well as it was put. Edwards was untouchable up front, with a Mustang that never slipped through the high-banked corners and motored away from the entire field on the straightaways. 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 »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Dollar General 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Dollar General 300

One of the fastest races in recent Nationwide Series memory saw Brad Keselowski all but untouchable on Saturday afternoon, leading 158 of 200 circuits in cruising to an easy win, his third of the season. Keselowski, despite stroking it the final 10 laps or so, finished over eight seconds ahead of Carl Edwards. Polesitter Brian Scott, Aric Almirola and Sam Hornish Jr. rounded out the top 5. The race was stopped by caution flags only three times, with the final 131 laps of the afternoon run under green; only 10 cars were on the lead lap by race's end. In terms of the title chase, the contenders largely held serve, with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson all scoring top 10 finishes (eighth, sixth and 10th respectively). As a result, the standings changes were minimal; Stenhouse left Chicago with a 14 point lead, as the field comes to six races to go in the 2011 season. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Virginia 529 College Savings 250

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Virginia 529 College Savings 250

A night that opened seemingly poised to have a dramatic impact on the 2011 Nationwide Series title chase ended up being more of the same: the Cup drivers stealing the show. Carl Edwards dominated early, but Kyle Busch in the end used strength on pit road to muscle out front late and take home the checkered flag. Together, those drivers led a combined 234 of 250 laps, with Busch holding off Edwards and an upset bid by Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. early in the final run. Ryan Truex and a surprising Kenny Wallace rounded out the top-5 finishers. Read More »