Brad Keselowski dominated the Sta-Green 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway leading a race high 152 laps for his 29th career Nationwide Series victory and his 2nd win of 2014.
Keselowski beat Kyle Busch to the checkers by 1.880 seconds. Kyle Larson would finish 3rd and Matt Kenseth would finish 4th on a day completely dominated by the Sprint Cup Series regulars. Chris Buescher would carry the afternoon for the Nationwide regulars finishing 5th.
It was a typical 200 lap race at New Hampshire with clean air and track position being of utmost importance. Keselowski and Busch did what they normally do in Nationwide Series competition which is lead a lot of laps. Combined on the afternoon they led 186 of the race’s scheduled 200 lap distance.
Elliott Sadler, Brian Scott, Chase Elliott, Trevor Bayne, and Regan Smith would round out the top 10. Smith leaves New Hampshire with a slim eight point lead in the championship battle over Sadler. Chase Elliott sits third, followed by Ty Dillon and Brian Scott. Trevor Bayne, Brendan Gaughan, Chris Buescher, James Buescher, and Ryan Reed round out the top 10 in the championship.
JR Motorsports continues to be the gold standard of the Nationwide Series in 2014. With Chase Elliott finishing 8th and Regan Smith finishing 10th along with winning the Dash for Cash bonus there is little doubt as to which two drivers appear to be the championship favorites getting ready for the second half of the season.
Chris Buescher continues to impress. His 5th place effort gave him his 2nd top 5 of 2014 plus it moved him up to 8th in the championship standings and keep in mind he missed the season opener at Daytona
James Buescher continues to struggle through his rookie season in the Nationwide Series. A 22nd-place run at Loudon adds to the struggles. Buescher only has 1 top 10 in 17 races this season. Gotta wonder if moving up to the Nationwide Series was a mistake for Buescher or just a product of the team he drives for.
Racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is ugly in general, Saturday was no exception. At a track where track position means everything and passing is so difficult it is really hard to maintain interest in a race there. Plus when someone has a car like Keselowski had it compounds the problem. Fans will still insist the problem is too many cup regulars in the field but the problem with the Nationwide Series this year is not enough good teams and not enough competitive cars.
Underdog Performer of the Race:
Hard to go against Ryan Preece. Preece drove Tommy Baldwin Racing’s #36 car to an impressive 14th place finish on Saturday and turned several heads in the process. I expect Preece who is a regular on the Whelen Modified Tour to get a few more opportunities in the Nationwide Series this season.
Double Duty and Start and Park Effect:
6 drivers that competed on Saturday also competed on Sunday
2 of 40 cars decided to start and park
New Hampshire definitely didn’t move the needle in regards to excitement and with the Brickyard coming up expect more of the same. Gotta wonder if NASCAR needs to consider different venues and get back to traditional short track racing to revitalize the series. The Nationwide Series is out of place at the big track and needs to return to IRP.