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Nationwide Breakdown: Dollar General 300

Nationwide Breakdown: Dollar General 300

Joey Logano proved once again that the Nationwide series is his world and the rest of the Nationwide drivers are just squirrels trying to get a nut. Logano led a race high six times for 62 laps. Logano beat Kevin Harvick to the line for the win. Elliott Sadler, the series point leader came home in third. Kyle Busch drove the No. 54 to a fourth place finish with Denny Hamlin finishing up the top 5.

Logano has not run all of the races on the Nationwide schedule this season but, when he has climbed behind the wheel in the junior series, he’s won almost half of the races. This victory is number eight for the year for Logano in Nationwide competition, far and away the most in the series. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is second in season wins with five while Sadler has four. The race was slowed by five cautions, four of them for on track incidents. There were nine leaders who participated in a total of 21 lead changes. Sadler played it conservatively because he is the leader in the point battle, and in the end added to his point lead by not opening himself up to potential pit road pitfalls.

Fortunately for the Nationwide regulars, Logano is not running for points in the series. As a result, Sadler is the point leader, increasing his advantage to 13 over Stenhouse Jr. and 29 over Austin Dillon with four races to go on the schedule. This win was the 17th Nationwide win of Logano’s career. It is his 10th top 5 and 14th top 10 of 2012. This was his first career Nationwide win at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The second place for Harvick was his eighth top 5 and ninth top 10 in 12 starts this season. Sadler’s third place finish was his 14th top 5 and 22nd top 10 of the 2012 campaign.

*Worth Noting*

*The Good*

Cole Whitt had a solid night in Charlotte, working up to a top-15 finish as JR Motorsports continues to rebuild after the release of both Eurys behind the scenes.

*Cole Whitt* started the race in 19th, muddled around in the low teens and high twenties for about half of the race before moving up and finishing the night in 13th place. While it didn’t add to his top 5 or top 10 totals from the year, it was better than his 14.2 average finish coming into the race and any progress is a good thing for the JR Motorsports gang these days.

Elliott Sadler may not have won the race, but he had the opportunity to spend some very quality time with his mother before the event started. Sadler rode around the track with his mother in the truck with him after driver introductions which held special meaning for him. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and Sadler’s mother is a breast cancer survivor. Any time he gets to spend with his mom is quality time.

A top 20 finish might not fall into the good category for some of the teams who compete in the Nationwide Series but for *Robert Richardson Jr.* it is a positive result. Richardson started the night 41st and methodically worked his way up to the mid 20s before some good fortune befell him over the final laps and gave him the chance to cross the line in 20th position.

*The Bad*

Brad Keselowski ran at the front of the pack all night, starting ninth and leading four times for 52 laps. Unfortunately for him his car had a fueling issue on the final green flag splash and go stop and the fuel cell didn’t take any gas. As a result Keselowski had to come back to the pits and ended the race in 18th place.

John Wes Townley started the race on the outside of the sixth row and ran among the top 15 to 20 for the majority of the race. Over the last 50 laps his car had a mechanical issue which slowed him down and eventually led to a 32nd place finish.

Mike Bliss was running his way toward the top 10 when his car developed a vibration. He pitted for what he thought was a tire problem, went back on the track and discovered it was not a tire issue. The end result was a torn up race car and a finish in the 36th place. For a team that doesn’t have a huge budget but is out there trying, it was a very tough pill to swallow.

*The Ugly*

Rookie Angela Cope made the race in the No. 00 car but never completed more than a single lap — winding up dead last.

Starting 10th, Sam Hornish was heading to the front with a head of steam. Sadly for him, on the restart from the first caution of the night, Hornish was dueling with Justin Allgaier for a top 10 spot when he ran out of talent on the exit of turn four. Hornish pushed Allgaier into the wall which then turned himself into the wall and damaged the front end of his car. While the team affected repairs and Hornish went back out to soldier to the end of the night, he was only able to garner a 35th place finish.

Sometimes you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. For Justin Allgaier being on the outside of Sam Hornish coming out of turn four on lap 13 was the wrong place. Allgaier was bounced off of the outside wall with Hornish’s car doing some heavy damage to the left front nose of the No. 31. The team was able to apply a liberal amount of bare bond and get him back on the track but 34th was the best finish he could must.

While *Angela Cope* deserves props for making the race on time when four teams had to pack up their cars and go home, the exuberance of being in the show faded quickly as she technically had a mechanical issue before taking the green flag. As the team rolled to the start, Cope jumped on the gas and center punched the rear bumper of Joe Nemechek’s car. The contact smashed the radiator and oil cooler on Cope’s car and she rolled, smoking profusely, around the bottom of the track and to the garage. She barely completed a lap but she did avoid being part of a major controversy by messing up another driver’s night.

*Ill-Gotten Gains*

Start and Park entries occupied six of the 43 starting positions. The took home $55,431 of prize money.

A Cup regulars won Friday’s race, scored four of the top five finishing positions, occupied five of the 43 starting spots and took home $171,775 of purse money.

Year-to-Date

346 of 1,247 starting spots have been occupied by Cup regulars. (27.75%)
$7,044,063 Dollars won
15 of 29 trophies won (51.72%)

*The Final Word*

-Racing can be many things to many people. While there were certainly on-track passes for the lead and some intense side-by-side racing early on in the event, the bottom line is that the new style cars still make the racing rather boring. The huge hole they punch through the air makes the cars so aero dependent that the car in the lead has a great advantage and the cars behind generally need a stroke of luck or lightening to make a move on the car in front. The series needs to have something done to take the aero dependence off of these cars in order to bring back some genuine driver ability.

-At 12:25 Saturday morning, roughly two and a half hours after the completion of the race, the unofficial results were handed out in the Charlotte Media Center. A new version of timing and scoring software was implemented before the race and had a bug. The system was rolled back and the older version worked to spit out the results, albeit rather late. It is probably good for NASCAR that they found the bug before the Cup race on Saturday night but it would have been a good idea to run redundant systems to avoid such a delay. Fortunately for the CMS staff, they only had to print off one copy of the results because there was only one member of the media still in the media center.

*Connect with Mike!*

“Contact Mike Neff”:http://www.frontstretch.com/contact/14354/

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