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Nationwide Series Breakdown: Lipton Tea 250

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Lipton Tea 250

*In a Nutshell:* Carl Edwards dominated early. Kevin Harvick dominated late. But in the end, it was a familiar sight at the front of the field: Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota in Victory Lane, with neither one of the drivers above cashing in. Instead, it was Denny Hamlin -- who ran third for nearly the entire race -- that snookered the field. Taking four tires when the leaders stayed out on a late caution, Hamlin capitalized on that extra speed to score a memorable win in the Lipton Tea 250. The win was Hamlin’s first victory at any level at the Richmond International Raceway, a mere 15 minutes from his home of Chesterfield, Virginia. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown : Aaron’s 312

Nationwide Series Breakdown : Aaron’s 312

*In a Nutshell:* Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 team continued its utter dominance of the Nationwide Series in 2008; this time, it was with Tony Stewart behind the wheel. The marquis driver in the JGR stable stayed out of trouble and held off good friend Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to win the Aaron’s 312 at Talladega Saturday afternoon. The win was Stewart’s third of the season and the fourth for the No. 20 team, both of which lead the series in 2008. Stewart was the fastest car all race long, leading five times for 81 laps. Earnhardt Jr., in his own No. 5 Chevrolet, was the only car able to seriously challenge Stewart, but could never get a good enough run to pass the No. 20 in the closing laps. Earnhardt finished sixth. The race was marred by the “Big One” on Lap 72, a wreck involving at least 15 drivers that changed the complexion of the event. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Corona 200

*In a Nutshell:* The stage was set for Scott Pruett to avenge his crushing loss in this race last year. With Brad Parrott on the pit box and driving Juan Montoya's race winning car from 2007, Pruett was the class of the field. Pruett and the No. 40 team built a commanding lead and were in position to win the race. A late race caution, however, erased Pruett's lead and put Kyle Busch and the No. 20 on his tail. Pruett held off Busch for a while, but used up his tires in the process, leaving Busch to score his third consecutive Nationwide Series win and first ever NASCAR win on a road course. Busch was celebratory in victory lane, but he refused again to answer whether he has decided to run for the Nationwide Series title, stating that the decision to run Nationwide races would continue to be made on a race by race basis. “We're not ready to let that one out of the bag” said Busch. Busch remained third in the points after the race, but moved within 66 points of Clint Bowyer, who kept his points lead with a sixth place finish. Carl Edwards finished third in the race and now trails Bowyer by only nine points in the series standings. Read More »

Should NASCAR Race Outside the US?

Should NASCAR Race Outside the US?

The first commercial produced by Nextel to mark their arrival into NASCAR at the beginning of the 2004 season was a one minute long spot called "Anthem" featuring a rousing soundtrack and clips of racing action from the early days of racing on Daytona Beach right through to the then-present day. The ad was Nextel's way of honoring the history and tradition of the Cup Series, as well as showing NASCAR fans they understood what they were taking on. Here's an excerpt from the end of the voiceover that accompanies the ad: _You want to know about America?_ _It's in the squeal of rubber, the scream of the engine and the roar of humanity…seeing one of its own triumph against the odds. It's there in a last lap duel. Joyous as Victory Lane, devastating as hitting the rail. Here, life lessons are learnt and man it's as obvious as the number of the car in pole position._ _It's simple - NASCAR born in America._ Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Bashas’ Supermarkets 200

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Bashas’ Supermarkets 200

*In a Nutshell:* Kyle Busch had the strongest car in the field, again. Kyle Busch led the most laps, again. Kyle Busch won the race, again. In what's becoming a running theme in the Nationwide Series this season, Busch led four times for 133 laps en route to his second consecutive win during the race Friday night. But he wasn't unchallenged; in fact, Busch held off a furious late race charge from Carl Edwards, who enjoyed his best Nationwide run of the season with a second place finish. However, it wasn't enough to slow down Busch, who won by a little over a quarter of a second; the victory marked his second consecutive win in this series at the Phoenix International Raceway. Read More »

Nuts for Nationwide: Field-Filling Rearing Its Ugly Head Again

Nuts for Nationwide: Field-Filling Rearing Its Ugly Head Again

Perhaps one of the best barometers to gauge the health of a racing series is to look the weekly entry list. A once over of the Nationwide Series entry lists so far this season might not seem concerning. Sans the season's second race at Fontana, every race has drawn at least 43 teams to the track, with full fields taking the green flag at six of the series' first seven races. What these lists don't show, however, is that field-filler teams are running rampant in the series, at a level unseen in NASCAR's top tier series since Joe Ruttman took the green flag at Rockingham without a pit crew during a Sprint Cup race in 2004. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: O’Reilly 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: O’Reilly 300

*In a Nutshell:* Again, Kyle Busch dominated the Nationwide Series field; but this time, there were no mid-race mishaps. Busch took the lead for the fourth and final time on Lap 158, and was never seriously challenged down the stretch as he scored his first series win of the season at the Texas Motor Speedway. "This feels so good, because this place is so hard to win at," said an ecstatic Busch after taking the checkered flag. "For me, it's extra special to bring DLP their first NASCAR victory, and to bring Toyota here to Victory Lane at Texas [DLP is a Dallas-based company]." Busch, who started 31st after qualifying was rained out Thursday, sliced through the field, cracking the Top 10 by Lap 30. Busch's only minor scare came on Lap 190 when the fourth and final caution of the race came out; Busch elected to stay out on old tires while a number of the leaders pitted. Nevertheless, he still ran away from the field on the last restart. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Pepsi 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Pepsi 300

*In a Nutshell:* Despite being the first standalone Nationwide Series event of the season, the first two-thirds of Saturday's race at Nashville saw Cup regulars dominating, with Kyle Busch and Clint Bowyer claiming the top two spots. But that all changed on Lap 163; and in an instant, a Nationwide-only driver was finally given his shot at Victory Lane. First, the incident that changed the complexion of it all. Bowyer, making a run on Busch in Turn 4, got Busch's No. 20 loose and sent him into a spin. Just like that, the 22-year-old was in the grass with a crushed left side fender, and Bowyer had damage to the right side of his Chevrolet. Busch clearly got the short end of the stick; he pitted under green to fix his car, and was never again a factor, finishing two laps off the pace. Busch's misfortune sent Bowyer to the point, with his teammate Scott Wimmer moving into second. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Sharpie Mini 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Sharpie Mini 300

*In a Nutshell:* Considered a preseason favorite for the Nationwide Series championship, Clint Bowyer officially established himself as a contender on Saturday. With a little bit of luck and a whole lot of skill, the driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet led 122 of 171 laps run to score the win in the rain-shortened Sharpie Mini 300 at Bristol. A jubilant Bowyer said afterwards, "It feels awesome [to be in Victory Lane]. I'll take it any way you can get it." Well aware of the rain approaching the race track, Bowyer fended off a series of furious charges by Kasey Kahne, who settled for second in his No. 9 Dodge. Kahne caught Bowyer using the high line, but was unable to find the grip he needed to pass Bowyer on the outside. "I should have pressed the issue a little bit, and I'm disappointed I'm in second," said Kahne. "I should be winning. He shouldn't be winning. I just let him have it." Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Nicorette 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Nicorette 300

*In a Nutshell:* Until Kyle Busch blew a right front tire with less than 30 laps to go, *Matt Kenseth* and the rest of the Nationwide Series field were racing for second place behind Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 Chevrolet. But Busch, who led over 150 laps, suffered his second tire failure in as many weeks -- setting the stage for a late race shootout among several other Cup drivers moonlighting in the series. In the end, Kenseth was able to hold off a hard-charging *Kevin Harvick* through a green/white/checker finish at Atlanta to score his 24th career Nationwide Series win. Harvick settled for a runner-up finish in his self-owned No. 33. Harvick was running down Kenseth in the final laps, but a late-race caution for debris derailed his charge to the lead. "I think we were better than the No. 17," Harvick said, "but he was better than we were for a couple of laps." Read More »