In a Nutshell: Saturday’s race was dubbed the “Opportunity 300,” the first of numerous standalone events for the Nationwide Series this summer — and a number of drivers took advantage, making runs at their first career wins. But while Joey Logano was untouchable in the early going, and David Stremme ran up front all race long, it was Brad Keselowski in the No. 88 who cashed in, scoring his first career NASCAR victory on the 1.33-mile speedway. Stremme, David Reutimann and Clint Bowyer all stayed out on the track trying to stretch their fuel to the end, but a late-race caution allowed Keselowski — who took four tires later in the race — to run down the leaders and score JR Motorsports’ second series victory this season.
Though he failed to overwhelm the CARQUEST 300 field as he has in so many other races this season, Kyle Busch was the class of the field again at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Pitting for fuel on lap 129, Busch stayed out for the duration of the race, conserving fuel under caution and taking advantage of clean air to stay in front of the field. Though Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski all mounted furious charges on Busch’s Camry, none were able to deny him his fourth Nationwide Series win of the season. Hamlin finished second in Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20, breaking a four race win streak for the team.
In a word: dominating. That’s how one could describe Tony Stewart’s run at Darlington in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 Friday night. Stewart, who qualified third, led on three different occasions for a total of 90 laps to score the win. His fourth victory in the Nationwide Series this season, it also doubled as his first in any NASCAR division at the Lady in Black.
Carl Edwards dominated early. Kevin Harvick dominated late. But in the end, it was a familiar sight at the front of the field: Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota in Victory Lane, with neither one of the drivers above cashing in. Instead, it was Denny Hamlin — who ran third for nearly the entire race — that snookered the field.
Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what a select few were thinking following the Corona 200 at Autodromos Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.
On this very day some 10 years ago, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his first race in NASCAR’s second series, taking the checkered flag in the 1998 Coca-Cola 300. The Kannapolis, N.C. native drove his father’s AC Delco sponsored No. 3 Chevy to victory lane at Texas Motor Speedway. Later that same year, Junior founded JR Motorsports, initially to deal with his burgeoning sponsorship and marketing opportunities. Four years later he turned the business into a race team running in the street stock division at Concord Motorsports Park. And in 2006, Earnhardt Jr. debuted the No. 88 car in the Nationwide Series with Mark McFarland picking up the driving duties. Tomorrow, Junior will pilot the second Nationwide car in his JR Motorsports stable, the No. 5 GoDaddy Chevy, as he tries to mark the 10th anniversary of his maiden victory at a track where he also secured his first Sprint Cup win.
The first off week of the season allowed our staff to take a look at the other racing series that NASCAR has to offer; as such, they did a little ranking of some other drivers that the fans love to follow. Whether they are seasoned veterans in the waning years of their career, or young drivers who are trying to prove themselves, they were all considered for this poll of the best stock car driver without a full-time ride in the Sprint Cup Series. Check below to see if your budding superstar — or old favorite — made our list!
The last 60 laps then saw Scott Wimmer slowly run down Clint Bowyer, finally making the pass for the lead with 21 laps to go. Wimmer, along with the rest of the race leaders, drove “with an egg under the throttle,” saving fuel to the finish to lock up the win for the No. 29 Chevrolet. Wimmer’s victory was the first for a Nationwide Series regular this season. It was also the Wisconsin driver’s first triumph since July of 2003 at Pikes Peak, as well as his first since aligning with Richard Childress Racing following the 2006 season.