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Nationwide Series Breakdown: Camping World RV Rental 250

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Camping World RV Rental 250

*In a Nutshell:* Brad Keselowski had the field at Milwaukee covered on Saturday night, leading 145 of the first 171 laps run. That all changed, however, when young phenom Joey Logano slammed into Keselowski in a turn while battling for the lead, caving in the left front fender on Keselowski’s No. 88 Chevrolet. The damage took the handling, and a shot at the win, away from the No. 88. Logano, however, couldn’t hold off a hard-charging Carl Edwards, who bumped Clint Bowyer for the lead late and broke through to score his first Nationwide Series win since Nashville in 2007 in his debut with new crew chief Drew Blickensderfer. Read More »

Home Depot Racing: Michigan Race Report

Stewart and Co. Lock-Up Top-Five at Michigan Home Depot Driver Rises to 11th in Points after LifeLock 400 Date: June 15, 2008 Event: LifeLock 400 (Round 15 of 36) Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (2-mile oval) Start/Finish: 12th/5th (Running, completed 203 of 203 laps in a green-white-checkered finish) Winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr., of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet) While it may not have been pretty, Tony Stewart and the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Team rallied ... Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Meijer 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Meijer 300

*In a Nutshell:* Joe Gibbs Racing scored its tenth win in 16 Nationwide Series races on Saturday night, and this time added a fourth winning driver to its roster. Joey Logano, after scoring his second consecutive pole award, scored his first career Nationwide Series win in convincing fashion, leading five times for 76 laps including the final 54. Logano took the lead for the final time on Lap 147 when he passed teammate Kyle Busch. Busch, who started at the rear of the field after missing qualifying due to running the Truck race at Michigan, rocketed to the front of the field and led 85 laps before wrecking himself late in the running in a single car incident. The win marked the seventh of the season for the No. 20 team and crew chief Dave Rogers. When asked about the talent of his new protege, Rogers said of Logano’s talent “Three starts, two poles, one win. He’s okay.” Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Federated Auto Parts 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Federated Auto Parts 300

*In a Nutshell:* Saturday’s race was dubbed the "Opportunity 300," the first of numerous standalone events for the Nationwide Series this summer -- and a number of drivers took advantage, making runs at their first career wins. But while Joey Logano was untouchable in the early going, and David Stremme ran up front all race long, it was Brad Keselowski in the No. 88 who cashed in, scoring his first career NASCAR victory on the 1.33-mile speedway. Stremme, David Reutimann and Clint Bowyer all stayed out on the track trying to stretch their fuel to the end, but a late race caution allowed Keselowski -- who took four tires later in the race -- to run down the leaders and score JR Motorsports’ second series victory this season. Keselowski was able to celebrate in Victory Lane with much of his family, as brother Brian was also in town after attempting to qualify for Saturday’s event (he spun on his qualifying lap and DNQ’d). Meanwhile, the second leg of a vaunted "tripleheader" weekend didn't go so well for Kyle Busch; he finished three laps down in 20th after dealing with a flat tire. Clint Bowyer’s strong fourth place finish allowed him to retain the series’ points lead, which now stands at 166 points over second place David Reutimann. Read More »

Sliced Bread : Yep, I’m A Believer…

Sliced Bread : Yep, I’m A Believer…

Sport – of whatever flavor or variety you prefer - is littered with cases of unfulfilled promise. Youthful exuberance and unfettered possibility generates unbelievable enthusiasm and expectation, but more often than not, fails to translate to the biggest stage of all. Some prospects freeze in the bright lights, beaten down by the magnitude of the moment. Others were simply not as good as their advanced billing and should never really have been there in the first place. A rookie phenom’s “potential for success” has an ephemeral quality with a fragile will-o-the-wisp consistency. Yes, it could happen and the budding star might become one of the greatest of them all but those cases are, for obvious reasons, rare. Sometimes it does happen as scripted and a kid comes from nowhere to become first a star, then a legend, and finally an icon. More often than not, early promise burns out – snuffed out by a combination of being pushed too fast too early and unrealistic expectations generated by too much hype. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Heluva! Good 200

Nationwide Series Breakdown: Heluva! Good 200

*In a Nutshell:* I might as well write a template for this portion of the Nationwide Series Breakdown. This Saturday Joe Gibbs Racing dominated the NASCAR Nationwide Series X (Heluva! Good 200). Driver X (Denny Hamlin) smoked the field, leading X (131) of X laps (200). Joe Gibbs Racing has now won X (9) of X (14) races in the Nationwide Series this season. Hamlin was, unlike last weekend’s post-race interview, far from provocative in Victory Lane, thanking JGR for taking a chance on him as a development driver four years ago and also thanking the fans that stuck out a three hour rain delay to watch the race. “We’ve got the greatest fans [here] in NASCAR” said Hamlin, as if attempting to quash the angst many fans have demonstrated towards him following his conflict with Brad Keselowski last week at Charlotte. Read More »

Nationwide Series Breakdown: CARQUEST 300

Nationwide Series Breakdown: CARQUEST 300

*In a Nutshell:* Though he failed to overwhelm the CARQUEST 300 field as he has in so many other races this season, Kyle Busch was the class of the field again at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Pitting for fuel on Lap 129, Busch stayed out for the duration of the race, conserving fuel under caution and taking advantage of clean air to stay in front of the field. Though Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski all mounted furious charges on Busch’s Camry, none were able to deny him his fourth Nationwide Series win of the season. Hamlin finished second in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20, breaking a four race win streak for the team. Busch’s win, however, was overshadowed by late-race fireworks between Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski, who led for 25 laps and finished a career-high third. Hamlin, frustrated by Keselowski’s race-long lack of “racing etiquette” took a swipe at Keselowski’s car under caution, damaging the left front fender and stripping him of any chance of running down Kyle Busch during the ensuing green/white/checkered finish. Read More »

Are We Primed For the Closest Nationwide Championship Race In Years?

Are We Primed For the Closest Nationwide Championship Race In Years?

In the five weeks since I last penned (or should that be typed) a Nationwide Recap column, we’ve seen racing in a variety of different venues encompassing short tracks, road courses, super speedways and the more traditional mile and a half tracks. The schedule has tested both the skills of the drivers as well unearthing numerous logistical challenges – not least transporting cars and equipment to and from Mexico City. Following the conclusion of the Darlington race this evening, the Nationwide Series will take a deserved week off; before a spell of 16 straight weeks of racing that will run through the second Richmond date in early September. So with a third of the season in the books, give or take the odd percentage point or two, let’s take a look at some of the general themes that have emerged – or are beginning to emerge - in this inaugural season for new sponsor Nationwide. Read More »

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 »