Posted on: February 25, 2012 4:39 pm
Posted by Brian De Los Santos
What had been a relatively tame Nationwide Series opener at Daytona, got rather wild over the final 20 laps.
Noted previously was a 14-car wreck on Lap 105. But it didn't end there. Another multi-car wreck ensued on Lap 115, setting up a two-lap sprint to the finish. But the icing on the cake came on the final lap when the leaders wrecked as Tony Stewart and Elliott Sadler tried to draft around the outside of the tandems of Kyle Busch-Kurt Busch and Joey Logano-Trevor Bayne.
Unfortunately, the tandems got together coming around the final turn, gifting the victory to James Buescher, who collected his first win in 35 Nationwide Series starts.
Posted on: February 25, 2012 3:46 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 4:24 pm
Posted by Brian De Los Santos
Saturday's Nationwide Series race had been a relatively calm affair -- save for Danica Patrick's wreck -- until the "Big One" struck on Lap 105, involving 14 cars.
Posted on: February 25, 2012 2:49 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 5:01 pm
Posted by Brian De Los Santos
Danica Patrick hasn't had much luck finishing races at Daytona this year. She wrecked on the final lap in her Gatorade Duel qualifier on Thursday.
During Saturday's Nationwide race, however, she didn't even make it halfway, wrecking on Lap 50 with a bit of assistance from her JR Motorsports teammate Cole Whitt.
Patrick wound up finishing in position 38 after her pole-winning run and was understandably disappointed with the outing, the first of her full-time Nationwide Series schedule.
“The bummer of it is not only is it the start to the championship and I’m in the championship and every point matters, which is why we went back out there again, but there are so many other days when your car isn’t perfect, isn’t super fast and nothing happens to you,” Patrick said. “And you think why on the days when I have a really fast car it has to happen today. But it did and we’ll move on.”
As for making contact with her teammate Whitt, Patrick said she’ll talk with the young driver on how to work together better in the future.
“I don’t think it’s ever great when teammates come together,” Patrick said. “We’ll have to figure out what happened and move forward.”
Posted on: February 6, 2012 11:24 am
Edited on: February 6, 2012 11:28 am
By Pete Pistone
Thanks to NASCAR’s new championship system, the disappearance of Cup regulars running full-time in the series and a brand new race car, stock car racing’s number two series is beginning to find an identity of its own.
The sanctioning body’s decision to mandate drivers choose which championship they intended to compete for at the beginning of last season provided an opportunity for Nationwide-only competitors to shine. Although Sprint Cup drivers won their share of races last season, the title fight that went down to the wire between series regulars Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Elliott Sadler did exactly what NASCAR had hoped it would by providing more exposure and awareness.
"I think it's worked just the way we wanted it to," said NASCASR CEO Brian France. "We wanted to showcase the young drivers in their own series, and still have the participation of drivers with a lot of experience, and that's exactly what we've gotten. I think it's been good for the young drivers to get some different notoriety and the honor and prestige of winning a championship, and the money that comes with that, and all the best. It's been a good thing."
Eventual champ Stenhouse had to fight the likes of Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski for wins throughout the year but he didn’t have to worry about battling those Cup interlopers for the championship.
"When they changed the points system, nobody really counted us in," Stenhouse said after claiming the crown for Roush Fenway Racing. “But we felt like as a race team, that gave us an even better shot to win it. We just fought really hard all year. We came into this season feeling like we had a shot at it."
As the 2012 season nears, Stenhouse will get a shot at back to back titles. Despite some sponsorship issues and the challenge of finding the necessary funding, team owner Jack Roush has committed to bringing Stenhouse back for another title assault.
“They’re working on sponsorship for it right now, so everything is good,” said Stenhouse, who will also run a handful of Sprint Cup races for RFR including his first Daytona 500. “It sounds like we’re going to be able to go and defend our title again. … We’ve been planning on running for it.”
The road to a second straight crown won’t be an easy one for Stenhouse who will face a tough group of challengers including Sadler and his Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon, last year’s Camping World Truck Series titlist.
The duo is pumped up about their assault on the championship for the restructured and re-energized RCR Nationwide effort, which absorbed the Kevin Harvick Inc. program Sadler drove for last season.
“I’ve already seen a difference on a lot of stuff,” said Sadler, who will also run the Daytona for RCR in a limited Sprint Cup program. “We feel like right now our cars are prepared as good as we can make them. We really feel like we’ve got our stuff together here to start the first four or five races.”
Luke Lambert, who worked with RCR Cup driver Jeff Burton at the end of last season, will guide Sadler’s No. 2 Chevrolet team.
Dillon, team owner Childress’ grandson, will carry the iconic No. 3 entry into his full Nationwide Series program after brining RCR the truck title in 2011.
He believes his experience and subsequent success last season will be paramount to the road that lies ahead in the Nationwide Series.
“In 2010, I was able to learn all the Truck Series tracks and that’s what helped me in 2011,” said Dillon. “Kind of knowing what to expect the next year and how to pick up my game, I guess.
“It was a good year last year winning a championship,” Dillon said. “You want another championship because you know what it feels like standing up there at the table and everything. But I think where we’re at, being a rookie, top five in points and winning a few races would be great. Winning rookie of the year would be great. It’s going to be fun and exciting.”
While Stenhouse, Sadler and Dillon bring their own recognition into the new campaign the will have to battle for attention against the highest-profile name on the Nationwide Series driver roster in 2012 – Danica Patrick.
The former open wheel driver will go from dipping her toe into the NASCAR waters to a full dive into the deep end of the pool with a fulltime Nationwide effort at Junior Motorsports.
Patrick, who spent parts of the last two seasons juggling an Indy Car-NASCAR schedule, believes she’s ready to make the complete move to stock cars.
“There's a lot of things that are unknown, especially with running the full-time Nationwide championship, wanting to do really well in that and wanting to make a good impression in the Cup races I'm doing," said Patrick, who has a ten race Sprint Cup schedule as well in a collaborative Stewart-Haas Racing/Tommy Baldwin racing effort. "But overall, I'm feeling comfortable, as comfortable as I could imagine myself in this situation."
Patrick admits she’s learned a lot in her so far limited stint in NASCAR and that she may have to change her approach going forward now as a full-time competitor.
“There’s still going to be moments for sure where I’m going to be patient and I’m probably am not going to go all the way, but I’m getting more comfortable around the drivers,” Patrick said. “I didn’t want to come in and start pushing my way around because that’s not my style.
“Now I’ve been here for a little while, I feel more comfortable with the style of racing, when you can push and when you can’t push. Ultimately, just having a bigger comfort zone with the car is going to give me the ability to push harder and put the car on the track wherever I want and do more with it.”
Patrick will be teamed up with another driver making a full Nationwide season debut in Cole Whitt, who takes the wheel of the JR Motorsports No. 88 entry vacated when Aric Almirola got the call to drive for Richard Petty Motorsports in the Cup Series.
The young driver made a solid impression in the truck series and now hopes to capitalize on the opportunity afforded him by co-owners Dale and Kelley Earnhardt.
“This is a big opportunity for me, and I’m happy to be a part of the JR Motorsports team,” said Whitt. “I’m grateful to Dale, Kelley and everyone at JR Motorsports for giving me this chance. It’s an honor to work with the Eurys, and I will do everything in my power to put this No. 88 team where it belongs in Victory Lane.”
There are others who will try to make their mark in the Nationwide Series title race this season including Justin Allgaier of Turner Motorsports, Sam Hornish Jr. in a full-time program for Penske Racing and Michael Annett, who wound up at RPM after Rusty Wallace’s team was forced to close up shop.
There will still be Sprint Cup regular influence with the likes of Keselowski, Kyle and Kurt Busch with the new Kyle Busch Motorsports entry, Kasey Kahne at Turner, Trevor Bayne for RFR and the Joey Logano/Denny Hamlin combo at Joe Gibbs Racing.
But there is a distinct flavor of excitement and anticipation to the 2012 Nationwide season that hasn’t been present for some time.
Posted on: January 31, 2012 12:30 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 12:37 pm
By Pete Pistone
2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series Start Times
Feb. 25 .... Daytona, 1:15 p.m.
March 3 ... Phoenix, 4:30 p.m.
March 10 . Las Vegas, 5 p.m.
March 17 . Bristol, 2 p.m.
March 24 . Auto Club Speedway), 5:30 p.m.
March 31 . OFF WEEKEND
April 7 ..... OFF WEEKEND
April 13 ... Texas, 8:30 p.m.
April 20 ... OFF WEEKEND
April 27 ... Richmond, 7:30 p.m.
May 5 ...... Talladega, 3:15 p.m.
May 11 .... Darlington, 7:15 p.m.
May 20 .... Iowa, 2 p.m.
May 26 .... Charlotte, 2:45 p.m.
June 2 ...... Dover, 2 p.m.
June 9 ...... OFF WEEKEND
June 16 .... Michigan, 3:45 p.m.
June 23 .... Road America, 3:30 p.m.
June 29 .... Kentucky, 7:30 p.m.
July 6 ....... Daytona, 7:30 p.m.
July 14 ..... New Hampshire, 3:30 p.m.
July 22 ..... Chicago, 3 p.m.
July 28 ..... Indianapolis, 4:30 p.m.
Aug. 4 ..... Iowa, 8 p.m.
Aug. 11 ... Watkins Glen, 2:15 p.m.
Aug. 18 ... Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Montreal), 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 24 ... Bristol, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 1 .... Atlanta, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7 .... Richmond, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 15 .. Chicago, 3:30 p.m.
Sept. 22 .. Kentucky, 4 p.m.
Sept. 29 .. Dover, 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 6 ..... OFF WEEKEND
Oct. 12 ... Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 20 ... Kansas, 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 27 ... OFF WEEKEND
Nov. 3 .... Texas, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 10 .. Phoenix, 4 p.m.
Nov. 17 .. Homestead, 4:30 p.m.
All times Eastern
Posted on: November 13, 2011 8:05 pm
Provided by NASCAR Media
Sprint CupOnly one finish guarantees Carl Edwards his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship –- a victory in Sunday’s season-finale Ford 400.
Just three points separate points leader Carl Edwards and second-place Tony Stewart, a margin so tight, no other finish would automatically clinch the title for Edwards.
Stewart owns the tie-breaker (best finishes), and therefore could tie and win his third series championship.
All other drivers are officially eliminated from championship contention.
Edwards’ three-point lead roughly translates to 13 points under the previous points system. That makes it the closest margin between first and second going into the final race in Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™ history, and third-closest since the inception of the position-based points structure in 1975.
Nationwide SeriesRicky Stenhouse Jr. will clinch the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship with a finish of 37th or better; or 38th or better with at least one lap led; or 39th or better with most laps led at Homestead.
Only one point separates the points leading No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford in the NASCAR Nationwide Series owners standings.
Only one finish guarantees the No. 18 a championship –- a victory in Saturday’s Ford 300.
Both teams have eight wins on the season, but the No. 60 has nine second-place finishes (the No. 18 has five) – giving the No. 60 the tie-breaker.
The No. 60 would win the owners title by gaining one or more points on the No. 18 on Saturday.
Truck SeriesAustin Dillon owns a 20-point lead over Johnny Sauter heading into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finale. James Buescher also remains in title contention, 28 points behind Dillon. Ron Hornaday Jr., 48 points behind Dillon, will be eliminated as soon as Dillon starts at Homestead.
Dillon guarantees himself his first championship by finishing 16th or better; or 17th or better with at least one lap led; or 18th or better with the most laps led in Friday night’s Ford 200.
Kevin Harvick Inc.’s No. 2 Chevrolet clinched the 2011 owners championship last week at Texas Motor Speedway. It was KHI’s third owners title.
This season, six different drivers have piloted the No. 2: Kevin Harvick (nine races), Elliott Sadler (five), Clint Bowyer (four), Ron Hornaday Jr. (three), David Mayhew (two) and Cale Gale (one). Harvick is scheduled to drive next Friday at Homestead.
Posted on: October 19, 2011 1:48 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 11:51 am
By Pete Pistone
Next year's Nationwide Series slate was unveiled by NASCAR and as expected the schedule is down one date from the 2011 calendar.
As with the Sprint Cup Series, there aren't many surprises for NASCAR's number two division since most track announcements have taken the mystery out of the 2012 schedule.
Montreal does return to the series for a late August date and the previously announced foray to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Brickyard 400 weekend also joins the lineup. Hope for an early spring visit to Lucas Oil Raceway outside Indy as a companion to the move of the series to IMS fell through.
Iowa Speedway will host two events next season and there are a number of Nationwide-Camping World Truck Series combination weekends expected when the truck schedule is officially released in the coming days.
More 2012 NASCAR schedules: Sprint Cup | Truck Series
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:32 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 5:25 pm
By Pete Pistone
KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Reed Sorenson has found a home for this weekend at least after his surprising release from Turner Motorsports earlier this week.
Sorenson sits third in the Nationwide Series point standings but was released by Turner on Wednesday. Although team owner Steve Turner has not publicly stated why the decision to part ways was made, Sorenson found himself unemployed despite being in the thick of the championship battle with only five races left in the season.
Sorenson will pilot Randy MacDonald's No. 82 entry for Saturday's Kansas Lottery 300.
"I know [Sorenson] wants to race and he wants to stay as well-placed in the points as he can," MacDonald told NASCAR.com. "We wouldn't even have the car on the track this weekend if it wasn't for [sponsor] K-Love, so we're here to give them as much exposure as we can -- to get a top-10 if we can."
As of now the deal puts Sorenson in the No. 82 for this week only.
"It's too early to look beyond this weekend," MacDonald said. "I think [Sorenson] needs to get in our car and see how we run and where our weaknesses are, and together see how we can overcome some of those weaknesses to meet his expectations. That's my approach.
"We can't match the performance of the team he had, just like that. But I'd be pretty excited for the challenge of moving in that direction, working together. But it depends on him getting in the car and getting a decent finish."