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For Steve Arpin, a Welcome Homecoming at Toledo

For Steve Arpin, a Welcome Homecoming at Toledo

Steve Arpin spent much of the last month living a dream...driving for one of the strongest organizations in NASCAR, for the company that Dale Earnhardt Jr. built. Though this weekend, with NASCAR's all-stars taking center stage in Charlotte, Arpin was a long ways away on the Toledo Speedway bullring in Ohio. And he's loving every minute of it. “I love being back” said Arpin of returning to ARCA competition after making his first three career Nationwide Series starts. His enthusiasm definitely showed; during our interview, Arpin spun around mid-question to take a gander at Frank Kimmel's car being pushed back into the garage. His remarks? “That thing's already got a donut on it. Sweet!” Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Heluva Good 200

Cup regulars ran roughshod over the Nationwide Series field all day Saturday, with Kyle Busch winning the pole by obliterating David Green's 2004 qualifying record and proceeding to lead 191 laps in scoring already his fourth win of the 2010 season, enduring several late race restarts to do so. Cup regulars, who scored seven of the top 10 finishing positions, held nine of the top 10 spots in the running order with less than 10 to go before fireworks ensued. On the last restart of regulation, Denny Hamlin was involved in his second incident of the day (he caused the race's first caution by getting into the back of Michael Annett in turn 2), attempting to pass on the inside of Clint Bowyer and instead throwing the No. 21 machine into a spin on the frontstretch that caused heavy damage to a number of cars, including Trevor Bayne, Chad McCumbee and Paul Menard. Read More »

Refusing To Wave The White Flag Of Surrender: A NASCAR Veteran Fights Back

Refusing To Wave The White Flag Of Surrender: A NASCAR Veteran Fights Back

NASCAR in 2010 is about survival of the fittest. Littered amongst the ruins of team owners folding, sponsors fleeing, and pay-to-play rides are hardcore veterans, old dogs being taught new tricks on how to play the field as an underdog. Fighting to simply scrimp and claw their way onto the fringes of series where they once celebrated in Victory Lane, it's an ugly landscape upon which to make a living - the type that would force any 51-year-old into early retirement rather than brave that minefield. But for Mike Wallace, defeat is not a word left in his vocabulary. Determination is more like it; and after years of frustration, he's finally paired with a team that feels the same way. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Royal Purple 200

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Royal Purple 200

For the 36th time in the last 82 Nationwide Series races, a Joe Gibbs Racing entry visited Victory Lane, with Denny Hamlin holding off teammate Kyle Busch to score his first Nationwide Series victory of 2010 and first since Kansas back in 2008. Hamlin, who won the pole for Friday night's race as well, combined with Busch to lead 128 of the 147 laps run in a race that seldom saw the No. 18 and No. 20 Toyotas challenged. Justin Allgaier, who later succumbed to multiple flat tires, led 10 laps early but proved to be a flash in the pan contender when stacked against JGR's Cup roster. The winning call came on pit road when both Hamlin and Busch opted to stay out under a late race caution while the rest of the field pitted for tires. A number of additional yellows combined with the rock hard Goodyear eagles that refused to wear proved enough to keep those two at the front of the field to the checkers. Read More »

Jason Keller Continues to Weather Changes in the Nationwide Series

Jason Keller Continues to Weather Changes in the Nationwide Series

*Bryan Davis Keith: Talk about having to race your way into the field week in and week out. That's got to be an adjustment.* *Jason Keller:* It is. We made a mock qualifying run, and typically you'll stack that up whether you're in the top 10, top 15. Of late, you look where you are, but you're going “that's a go-or-go homer, that's a go-or-go-homer” and you have to gauge where you stack up against those guys. It's a transition, but it's all part of it. We've got ourselves in a pretty good hole, but we just have to try to be smart about it and race two races in practice. You race to go fast, but now every change we make I think to myself how is that going to change what we do in qualifying? Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Bubba Burger 250

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Bubba Burger 250

After winning the pole Friday afternoon, Kyle Busch quipped that he would lead a lot of laps under the lights at Richmond... assuming that Brad Keselowski didn't take him out. Keselowski didn't have to. In one of the most dominating performances the Nationwide Series has seen from a non-JGR car in recent memory, Keselowski led 189 circuits en route to his second consecutive victory, the eighth of his career and a triumph that allowed him to extend his lead in the season-long point standings. And while on the stat sheet it was a resounding run that had Lee Montgomery tweeting constantly about a boredom-inducing race, a late caution after Paul Menard cut a tire in turn 1 nearly robbed the No. 22 team of their winning trophy. Read More »

2010 Driver Development Already Suffering

2010 Driver Development Already Suffering

What started as a year full of promise for a new crop of development drivers to restore the Nationwide Series to its rightful place as a development league for the future of stock car racing has quickly unraveled. Not surprisingly, John Wes Townley continued his struggles of 2009, even with the backing of Richard Childress Racing, and now both his future with that team, and in the sport in general, hangs in indefinite hiatus. But it was a shocker to see Kelly Bires, the hottest Nationwide prospect of 2009, booted from his seat at JR Motorsports after less than 10 starts with the No. 88 team...and only one finish outside the top 20. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Aaron’s 312

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Aaron’s 312

One year ago, Brad Keselowski shocked the stock car world, winning the Sprint Cup race at Talladega as a Nationwide Series regular. This year was a case of role reversal; but when all was said and done, he was back in Victory Lane, scoring his first NASCAR win since making the move to Penske Racing. Keselowski was looking to face another side-by-side dash to the finish line when contact between Jamie McMurray and Clint Bowyer triggered a nasty 10+-car wreck coming to the checkers, an incident highlighted by Dennis Setzer's No. 92 Dodge going airborne into the catchfence in turn 4. That caused extensive damage to the fencing structure; however, it withstood the impact and kept the airborne car on the racing surface. Read More »

Reality Of Small-Time Racing Setting In For Eric McClure

Reality Of Small-Time Racing Setting In For Eric McClure

Back when I spoke to Eric McClure prior to the season opener at Daytona, he was convinced that for the all the economic turmoil facing the Nationwide Series in 2010, that the battle for a spot in the top-30, and a locked-in spot in the NNS field, would be even more competitive than it was in 2009. Turns out, he was right. A number of full-time operations from 2009, including the No. 26 team of K Automotive and the No. 61 team of Specialty Racing have already fallen outside of the top 30 only seven events into 2010, with a number of others barely hanging on. McClure's team is one of them. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: O’Reilly 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: O’Reilly 300

It was business as usual at Texas Motor Speedway Monday. Despite Joey Logano's best efforts, Kyle Busch was able to charge to the lead on a late-race restart after dominating the late afternoon, scoring his third Nationwide Series win of 2010 and his fifth at Texas. Busch was unchallenged for much of the event, with only teammate Logano providing any serious chase; the two JGR drivers led all but 14 of the laps run. Despite having run 500 miles in their Cup cars less than an hour prior to the drop of the green Monday, "Buschwhackers" dominated Monday's show, scoring eight of the top-10 starting positions. Brad Keselowski and Paul Menard, who are both running for the 2010 NNS crown, each notched top-10 finishes of fourth and tenth, respectively. Read More »