Articles

Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2008 Food City 250 at Bristol

Friday night was the night Clint Bowyer was looking for. After enduring weeks of poor-handling racecars and seeing his points lead diminish, Bowyer and the No. 2 team found themselves amongst the class of the field. By lap 106, they took the lead and never looked back... that is, until lap 227. Bowyer -- in the lead with no surrounding lapped traffic -- got loose exiting turn 1 and slipped up the racetrack, opening the door for Brad Keselowski. Finishing off a charge to the front from his 37th starting spot, Keselowski flew by Bowyer and led the remainder of the race, scoring his second Nationwide Series win of the season and of his career.

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5 Tracks the Sprint Cup Series Won’t Visit Soon… But Darned Well Should

Well, the 2009 schedule is up, and with the date shifting that was done attendance may well go up for some races -- but numerous other issues were left unresolved. The Labor Day weekend race is still not back at Darlington, and the Chase for the Cup still does not have a road course in its 10 races. But most disappointing of all -- at least for me -- the Cup Series will tackle no new venues in 2009. Like so many other NASCAR writers out there, whenever the news starts talking schedule I start fantasizing about tracks I’d love to see the Sprint Cup Series tackle -- so this week, I offer up five tracks I really wish the Cup Series would visit. Attendance, facility, practicality, etc., are of no concern here.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2008 CARFAX 250 at Michigan

Last week at the Glen, Brad Keselowski served Clint Bowyer notice that he was in for a battle for the Nationwide Series title. This weekend, Carl Edwards joined the dogfight. After scoring the pole Saturday morning, Edwards dominated the Nationwide Series race at Michigan, leading 71 of 125 laps to convincingly score his third victory of the season in this series over Brian Vickers and Tony Stewart. Edwards’ win marked the first Nationwide Series victory for Roush Fenway Racing at MIS since Jeff Burton in 1998. And besides his usual backflip, Edwards also made a classy move following the event, giving his trophy to the race’s grand marshal, Make-a-Wish kid Eric Wright.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2008 Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen

Unlike last weekend at Montreal, Marcos Ambrose did not have the best car in the field. But unlike last weekend, Ambrose capitalized during Saturday's race at Watkins Glen, scoring his first career NASCAR victory with a win in the Zippo 200. Ambrose ran in the third position for most of the event’s second half, stalking a furious battle between Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Burton that saw both Cup stars forced to pit with less than 10 laps to go for fuel. Ambrose then cruised to an easy win, which also catapulted his No. 59 into the top 10 in Nationwide Series points.

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The Time Is Now For A Return To The Rock

The general consensus has been that the newly developed Iowa Speedway, a state of the art 0.875-mile oval that is already hosting IndyCar and ARCA Re/Max Series races, will take the date. Advocates of the Iowa track picking up the date have a strong case to make. The track has already proven able to produce excellent stock car racing, as seen in the track’s ARCA race in April and last season’s thrilling NASCAR regional series race. The facility is new and fit with loads of RV spaces, suites, and a corporate hospitality village. It’s capable of quick expansion to 40,000 seats. But Iowa Speedway is not the track that should find itself back on the Nationwide Series schedule for 2009.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2008 NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Montreal

Marcos Ambrose led 27 consecutive laps and built an eight-second lead over Max Papis, maintaining the lead even after slipping off course under green. Pit lane, however, snakebit Ambrose and the No. 59. Ambrose nearly spun in the pits while leading, and then received a speeding penalty to boot. That handed the lead to Ron Fellows, who had short-pitted earlier in the event, allowing the native Canadian to lead until the race was finally red-flagged for heavy rain and a lack of visibility. For Fellows, it was his fourth career Nationwide Series win, and the first at any level for him on the Montreal road course named after his racing hero Gilles Villeneuve. Fellow road-ringers Patrick Carpentier and Boris Said scored top-five finishes.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2008 Kroger 200 at IRP

On paper, Saturday night’s race was not much of an event, with Kyle Busch leading a record 197 of the 200 laps run to win the Kroger 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park. The win marked Busch’s sixth Nationwide Series victory of the season and the 14th of the year for Joe Gibbs Racing through 22 events. However, minus the dominance of Busch’s No. 18, the event at ORP produced fantastic racing throughout the field, and allowed a large crop of development drivers to shine -- with Colin Braun, Josh Wise and Cale Gale all posting career-best finishes.

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Fantasy Picks ‘N’ Pans: Prepping Your Team For Indy Glory

Hopefully, you enjoyed your off weekend and your fantasy team got well rested -- because man, will they wind up needing that break. This weekend’s Brickyard 400 kicks off a grueling 17-race stretch to championship weekend at Homestead, and it's time to get everything geared up and ready to go for the fantasy home stretch. Unless you went way out on a limb with your picks at Chicago, you likely didn’t see your team get blown away in the Windy City. But with the prestige of winning at the Brickyard up for grabs this weekend, every team is going to be bringing their "A" game this Sunday. As you prepare your team for a race of historic proportions, keep in mind the delicate balance between picking a driver who is hot at a particular track and which drivers were running well before the break... but not three months before. Confused a bit yet? We'll sort it all out for you; just take a deep breath and get ready for the long week ahead by reading the latest edition of Fantasy Picks 'N' Pans.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2008 Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway

With the Sprint Cup Series taking the weekend off, many Cup stars took the opportunity to return to their old stomping grounds -- and the Nationwide Series race at Gateway International Raceway was no exception. Midwest drivers Jamie McMurray and Clint Bowyer had strong runs; but in the end, it was Carl Edwards who scored the victory, his second win in only five starts under new crew chief Drew Blickensderfer. Edwards and his trademark backflip received a raucous ovation from what he called a hometown crowd, taking his second win at Gateway in his last three starts at the track.

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