Back when the deal was first announced that ESPN would be returning to NASCAR broadcasting, and would also be giving the Nationwide Series a steady, permanent home, I was absolutely thrilled. What could go wrong here: a network whose Wide World of Sports coverage was largely responsible for NASCAR’s ascension from a niche to a national pastime and a mainstream TV home for NASCAR’s second-tier series? How could I have been so naïve?
On paper, this one wasn’t even close. And for over 250 miles on Saturday, it wasn’t. In the end, though, Kyle Busch led 178 of the 200 laps run to score his third win of the 2009 season. But he came very close to losing it. Brad Keselowski, who started 42nd in a backup car after a qualifying wreck, sliced and diced through the field and with less than 20 laps to go was running down Busch’s No. 18. Once the caution flag flew on lap 189, the stage was set for Rowdy to be toppled. Turns out the drama was all for naught, though. Keselowski spun his tires on the final restart, allowing Busch to pull away from the field. The only driver who got close to Busch on the final run was Tony Stewart, who had an extra set of tires saved and moved from seventh to second in the final seven laps with fresh rubber.
Racing has been in Michael Annett’s blood since birth. The 22-year-old Nationwide Series rookie’s first racing experience literally came days after his birthday when he attended the Knoxville Nationals less than one week after being born. Since that day in Knoxville, Iowa, Annett found success one ice where he was once a highly-touted hockey star and most recently back on the track where he will compete for Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year honors for Germain Racing.
Carl Edwards did everything he could to try and steal his second consecutive Nationwide Series crown. Qualifying on the outside pole, Edwards ran in the top five all race long and led a third of the race (66 laps). Edwards also managed to pass Kyle Busch’s vaunted No. 18 Toyota with 34 laps to go on an intermediate oval, scoring his second consecutive win and seventh of the season. But it wasn’t enough.
Over the Labor Day break, Bobby Hamilton Racing-VA has closed the doors on the No. 4 Dodge until further notice, so all team efforts can be focused on the No. 18 truck driven by Dennis Setzer. Since the announcement, Stacy Compton’s No. 4 Dodge has withdrawn from this weekend’s entry list.
The Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers at Kentucky Speedway marked the halfway point of the Craftsman Truck Series season, and it’s also the perfect time to take a look at the year so far and what to expect for the remainder of the season.
Johnny Benson took the checkered flag 0.474 seconds ahead of Michael Annett to win the Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Dealers at Kentucky Speedway. Benson held off a charge from his rookie teammate with just 18 laps remaining to win his second race this season and take over the points lead. Matt Crafton, Dennis Setzer, and David Starr rounded out the top five finishers.
Johnny Benson took the checkered flag 2.530 seconds ahead of Matt Crafton to win the Camping World RV Sales 200 Friday night at the Milwaukee Mile. Benson took the lead coming off pit road under caution for light drizzle and held on to win his third consecutive race at the West Allis, Wis. track. Landon Cassill, Erik Darnell and Todd Bodine rounded out the top five.