Tag Archives: Jason Keller

Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Dover 200

Saturday saw Richard Childress Racing's Nationwide program for the first time in 2009 resemble the juggernaut that Kevin Harvick took to nine wins and the 2006 Series crown. This time, however, the driver was Clint Bowyer, who in leading the final 83 laps scored a convincing win at Dover in the first of a three-race stint that the Cup regular is supposed to run to help turn around the performance of the team's No. 29 car. Though listening to Bowyer, you'd never know he was brought in for performance reasons. When asked why he ended up driving this race in favor of development prospect Steven Leicht, Bowyer's response was “It's my name on the car,” referring to a wager he won earlier in the year between fellow Holiday Inn drivers Jeff Burton and Leicht.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Food City 250 at Bristol

There were Cup headliners aplenty all day Friday as the Nationwide Series tackled the Bristol Motor Speedway. Early in the week, it was Ryan Newman doing quadruple duty at Bristol. Then it was Brad Keselowski, who wouldn't confirm or deny that he has signed to drive for Penske Racing in the Cup Series in 2009. That is, until he made contact with soon-to-be teammate Justin Allgaier, flattening his left rear tire and sending the Penske No. 12 car spinning. Then it was Kyle Busch, who took the lead for only a millisecond before Chase Austin made heavy contact and destroyed his No. 18 Toyota. Then it was Carl Edwards, who led 51 laps and was in prime position to make up maximum ground on Busch in the Nationwide title chase. Perhaps the only Cup regular not to get talked about, David Ragan, won the race.

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Lagasse’s Release A Short-Sighted Move, Long-Term Problem for NNS

While Silly Season 2009 has so far been quieter than in years past, it hit the Nationwide Series with full force following race weekend at Gateway. And, frankly, it was one of the more convoluted moves the Series has seen in recent memory. Scott Lagasse Jr., a solid Rookie of the Year contender and a driver who has managed to keep the No. 11 car competitive after taking over for the veteran Jason Keller late last season, was released in favor of Denny Hamlin for two races, and then… TBD. Viewing this decision simply as one involving a development driver and the No. 11 team, a rather simple question needs to be asked here…why?!

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway

On a rare weekend where the Nationwide Series was the only show in town, Cup regulars were nonetheless the story all night long… though a different face did most of the dominating. With announcements swirling that he would be doing more Nationwide driving in his own No. 33 car next season, Kevin Harvick led over half the laps run on Saturday night and had something for Kyle Busch’s red-hot No. 18 team. That is, until an audible decision by crew chief Ernie Cope to stretch fuel mileage bit Harvick on lap 172, knocking the No. 33 car from contention and handing Kyle Busch his sixth Nationwide win of 2009.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Camping World RV Sales 200 at Loudon

Sometimes, going faster and winning all comes down to going a bit slower. Whether or not that was Kyle Busch’s strategy doesn’t matter, because it worked. In a performance far departed from his stretch of eight consecutive Nationwide races leading the most laps, Busch started ninth on Saturday…and stayed there for a while. Rather than embarking on a bonsai charge to the front from the first lap, Busch was patient. Running in traffic for a while, the No. 18 team made adjustments to a degree and volume not seen from them in recent weeks, turning Busch’s car from a top 5 runner to the fastest piece in the field. And, thanks to those adjustments, Busch was able to pick off teammate Joey Logano (who dominated and led the most laps Saturday) on lap 165 and drive off to score his fifth win of 2009.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 NorthernTool.com 250 at Milwaukee

Déjà vu. Last year, Carl Edwards shook off a disastrous run at Kentucky and a weak start to his defense of the 2007 Nationwide title with a breakthrough win at the Milwaukee Mile. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday night, again. Edwards, who stalked the race leaders for much of the event, finally got past Kyle Busch with 44 laps to go, and never looked back, holding Busch off on two late race restarts to score his first Nationwide win of 2009.

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Nuts for Nationwide: For Series Regulars, The Time is Now

In counting down the days till the start of the 2009 standalone stretch for the Nationwide Series, I find myself constantly thinking back to my favorite time in college, the 2006-2007 football season. The slogan my beloved Demon Deacons took the field with that season was a simple one: The Time Is Now. No more stockpiling redshirted talent, no more 4-7 seasons full of moral victories, no more fighting Duke to stay out of the ACC cellar. The time certainly was then, as “little old Wake Forest” won 11 games and their first ACC championship in 36 years, making it all the way to the Orange Bowl, and giving Louisville, the No. 3 team in the land, everything they could handle and then some. That team did things that Wake Forest football had never done, and more importantly, were not supposed to do.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington

Just another Friday night Nationwide Series race in 2009... or so it seemed. Kyle Busch took the lead early, ran away from the field, and stunk up the show at Darlington, leading all but ten of the laps run in the 200-miler. But despite his best efforts, the 24-year-old did not take one step closer to his oh so superfluous goal of winning 200 NASCAR races. Thanks to a late race incident that scattered the track with debris, Busch suffered a flat tire under caution prior to a green-white-checkered finish, forcing him to pit for fresh rubber as a result. That left Matt Kenseth and a hard-charging Jason Leffler to duke it out for the win.

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Mirror Driving: Does TV Owe NASCAR Underdogs? Grading The Childress Crew Swap, And Nationwide Surprises

*Kyle Busch scored his 50th win NASCAR Cup, Nationwide and Truck competition with last weekend’s two victories at Richmond. Busch says he wants to get to 200 to “beat” Richard Petty's mark. Can he get there?* Kurt: Well, does that really count? I was thinking that isn't a fair comparison. That said, it's too early to tell; but if anyone, can it's Kyle. Beth: Right, it's way too early to make that call. And besides, I wouldn't count it unless it was 200 Cup wins. Jeff: I agree — you need 200 Cup wins to beat the King.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Aaron’s 312 at Talladega

It’s often been said that on a late restart, the last place a driver wants to be is leading a restrictor plate race. Ryan Newman found that out the hard way on Saturday. Despite playing the ride in the back strategy to perfection all day long after winning the pole Friday and leading at the white flag lap, the Rocket found himself unable to hold off the hard chargers behind him at the finish. But in this case, the second place driver didn’t take the win, either. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who had stalked Newman through the race’s final few laps, was unable to overcome Newman’s block in the tri-oval coming off of turn four. That opened the door for… David Ragan?

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