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Nuts for Nationwide: 75,000 Eye-Openers, Plus 12 More

Nuts for Nationwide: 75,000 Eye-Openers, Plus 12 More

The announced attendance for Saturday’s NNS event was 15,000. 15,000. To put that in perspective, that’s 75,000 empty seats on the frontstretch. DC United of Major League Soccer draws more than 15,000 fans for many of their regular season games. Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC draws more than 15,000 for their Whelen All-American Series races. _Duke football_ draws more than 15,000 fans to the ditch that is Wallace Wade Stadium to watch one of the nation’s lowliest college football programs. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Ford 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Ford 300

Carl Edwards did everything he could to try and steal his second consecutive Nationwide Series crown. Qualifying on the outside pole, Edwards ran in the Top 5 all race long and led a third of the race (66 laps). Edwards also managed to pass Kyle Busch’s vaunted No. 18 Toyota with 34 laps to go on an intermediate oval in scoring his second consecutive win and seventh of the season. But it wasn’t enough. Clint Bowyer methodically drove to the front from his thirteenth starting position, finishing the race in fifth. Bowyer’s 14th Top 5 finish of the season allowed him to secure his first major NASCAR championship. Read More »

Nuts for Nationwide: Phoenix Racing Living Up to Its Name, On the Rise Once Again

Nuts for Nationwide: Phoenix Racing Living Up to Its Name, On the Rise Once Again

Phoenix Racing and Johnny Sauter proved a winning combination in 2005. Driving the entire season for James Finch’s No. 1 team, Sauter posted 11 Top 10 finishes, including a dominating win from the pole at Milwaukee, en route to finishing 12th in the Busch Series standings. Considering this, few were surprised to see Sauter return to the No. 1 car for the 2008 Nationwide Series season. This lightning didn’t strike twice. Following the season’s fifth race at Bristol, Sauter had not cracked the Top 10 in any race, and the No. 1 team found itself mired 22nd in the owner point standings. Like many other independent Nationwide teams out there, Phoenix Racing found itself struggling to keep up with the deluge of Cup teams at the front of NASCAR’s second-tier series. Read More »

28 Down, Seven To Go In NASCAR’S Second Series

28 Down, Seven To Go In NASCAR’S Second Series

In a sure sign that life moves pretty fast and I’m getting older by the day, we’re down to just seven races to go before the crowning of the inaugural NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion. I feel like it was only yesterday that I wrote a “Nuts for Nationwide” column entitled “Four down, 31 to go.” And yet here we are at the very sharp end of the season with just a handful of races left on the schedule. This weekend, the drivers of the second series get a well-earned break and one final chance to juice up their engines for the stretch run. Both the top two drivers in the second series, Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards, will instead concentrate on what you could term their “day jobs” at the Sprint Cup level with each man itching to make solid starts to their respective Chase campaigns. So with a momentary pause at the Nationwide level, let’s take a look at the Top 10 drivers in the current standings and see who is where they should be, who isn’t and who’s overachieving. Read More »

Nuts for Nationwide: 24 Down;  11 To Go In the Second Series

Nuts for Nationwide: 24 Down; 11 To Go In the Second Series

It’s hard to believe there are only eleven scheduled races left in the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series and, unlike in the previous two seasons, we actually have a genuine title chase. Who needs the manufactured excitement of the senior circuit’s Chase for the Sprint Cup when you have a three-way shootout for the inaugural championship under the Nationwide banner? Two of the three protagonists in the battle for the title are, predictably, Sprint Cup regulars in Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer. But the third, JR Motorsports' Brad Keselowski, has had the sort of breakout season that suggests his might be a name we’ll be hearing for years to come in Cup as well as Nationwide. This weekend’s race is a critical step along the way as home to the driver of the #88 Chevrolet is Rochester Hills, Michigan – just two hours from the site of tomorrow’s race at Michigan International Speedway. Read More »

Nuts for Nationwide : Adios Mexico, Now Only Canada Remains On NASCAR’s International Slate

Nuts for Nationwide : Adios Mexico, Now Only Canada Remains On NASCAR’s International Slate

So the rationale for scratching the Mexican race and shifting focus to the NASCAR Corona Series makes sense. Investing in organic growth with Mexican drivers and races at tracks throughout the country - rather than the one big one bang approach – is much more likely to produce long-term results. And on the flip side another American circuit will pick up an all-important race date. The word is the Iowa Speedway will be the lucky recipient, but it’s not hard to question the wisdom of the timing of the announcement. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250

*In a Nutshell*: With the Sprint Cup Series taking the weekend off, many Cup stars took the opportunity to return to their old stomping grounds -- and the Nationwide Series race at Gateway International Raceway was no exception. Midwest drivers Jamie McMurray and Clint Bowyer had strong runs; but in the end, it was Carl Edwards who scored the victory, his second win in only five starts under new crew chief Drew Blickensderfer. Edwards and his trademark backflip received a raucous ovation from what he called a hometown crowd, taking his second win at Gateway in his last three starts at the track. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Dollar General 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Dollar General 300

*In a Nutshell:* The pre-race show spent an hour talking about Toyota dominance in the Nationwide Series, a discussion that ended with ESPN’s "analysts" coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t Toyota causing the problem ... it was Joe Gibbs Racing. Well, whomever's at fault, it seems the rest of the manufacturers have yet to find themselves a solution that'll allow them to remain competitive. JGR dominated a very uneventful race once again Friday night, with *Kyle Busch* leading 101 laps and scoring an easy fifth win of the season in his No. 18 Camry. But JGR didn't just lay waste to the field Friday night... Toyota did. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Winn Dixie 250

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Winn Dixie 250

*In a Nutshell:* Friday night’s race at Daytona was a true barnburner, slowed by only three cautions and run at a near-record pace. Unfortunately, Friday’s race was also as predictable as a TV movie -- with Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas dominating the field. Once the checkered flag flew, it was Denny Hamlin scoring the win, his third in the Nationwide Series for 2008. Hamlin’s victory also marked the ninth of the season for JGR’s No. 20 team, and the 12th win in 18 races for JGR this season in this division. Though Ford and Chevrolet had strong performers in Carl Edwards and JR Motorsports, respectively, in the end the horses under Hamlin’s hood proved to be insurmountable for any challengers -- even for his teammate Kyle Busch, who came home a solid second. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Camping World RV Sales 200

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Camping World RV Sales 200

*In a Nutshell:* The first companion race for the Nationwide Series since Dover was a trip back to reality for Nationwide Series fans, as Cup regulars ran roughshod over the field. Cup drivers scored the first seven finishing positions and eight of the Top 10 spots Saturday, with Tony Stewart scoring a relatively easy win at New Hampshire. Stewart took the lead for good on Lap 136 after Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, and Carl Edwards had shared the top spot for much of the early part of the race. In the end, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas wound up the class of the field, with Stewart and Kyle Busch (who finished third) combining to lead 138 of 200 laps. Behind them, Greg Biffle wrecked late in the event after starting from the pole but losing the handle on his car in the second half of the race. Mike Bliss was the top finisher of the Nationwide Series regulars, joined only by Brad Keselowski in the Top 10. Between them, Clint Bowyer fell back late and finished ninth, maintaining the series points lead over David Reutimann. Reutimann moved into second, 182 points back, with Brad Keselowski dropping to fourth in the championship standings; however, Keselowski remains the lead Nationwide Series regular in the title chase. Read More »