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Tag Archives: Morgan Shepherd

Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville

For the sixth week in a row, Kyle Busch was the dominant car in a Nationwide Series race. That’s it, no tricks to this story. His pit crew perfect, his laps fast, his nose clean, Busch led 173 of the 225 laps run Saturday night to score his long overdue fourth win of the Nationwide Series season. While Busch’s race was clean, his unorthodox celebration was far from it (read on to hear this writer’s take).

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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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Five Points to Ponder: 2009 Samsung 500 at Texas Edition

*The streak is over* How fitting is it that Jeff Gordon’s 47-race winless streak comes to an end at a track where he’s been winless for his entire career. Gordon was strong for much of the race, but it was a combination of a good pit stop by the No. 24 bunch and yet another poor stop by the No. 99 team that led to the coveted clean air needed for Gordon to pull away for the victory. The win may have been a long time coming, but it certainly wasn’t a surprise with the way the No. 24 team has been running this season.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Scotts Turf Builder 300 at Bristol

NASCAR fan or not, every sports fan in America has had at least one eye drawn on the NCAA basketball tournament this weekend. There are few sporting events anywhere in the world that can match the excitement, passion, and competition evoked by the weekend’s first two rounds. And, just like it does every year, the tournament provides countless examples of how teamwork is the most important element of any sport. Just as my beloved Wake Forest Demon Deacons got reminded of this truth the hard way in getting routed by Cleveland State, the weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway gave Kyle Busch a refresher that racing is a team sport, as well.

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Nuts for Nationwide: 5 Fearless Forecasts for Thunder Valley

The Sam’s Town 300 at Las Vegas saw four of the five full-time Nationwide Series rookie candidate score top 10 finishes. That won’t happen this weekend, but don’t look for this rookie class to end up a blended mess like so many before it have at this treacherous short track. Brendan Gaughan, who’s currently fourth in series points, averaged a top 15 finish in five Truck Series starts at Bristol, including a runner-up performance in August of 2007. And Justin Allgaier is coming off of an ARCA campaign that saw him score top 5 finishes in all seven of the series’ short track events, including three wins.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2009 Stater Brothers 300 at Fontana

As if following up Daytona with Fontana wasn’t enough of a letdown, Kyle Busch made sure that there would be no last lap fireworks this time around. Leading over 140 of the 150 laps run Saturday night, Busch followed up his Truck win earlier in the day with a dominant performance that saw the JGR No. 18 team lay waste to the Nationwide Series field. The win was the first for the No. 18 team with Jason Ratcliffe on the pit box since his suspension at Michigan last August for tampering with a NASCAR chassis dyno. Kyle Busch also became the first driver in NASCAR history to win two national touring division races on the same day.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2008 Camping World RV Sales 200 at Dover

For the 23rd time this season, a Sprint Cup driver proved that they had the awe-inspiring mettle to dominate NASCAR’s AAA series. For the eighth time this season, Kyle Busch proved to race fans that he is indeed deserving of a full-time ride in the Cup ranks, because he’s such a darned good Nationwide Series driver. And for the second time in the four races since Joe Gibbs Racing was “penalized” for its involvement in a cheating scandal at Michigan, its No. 18 team and their “substitute” crew chief dominated the field. Though several drivers had excellent race cars, Mike Bliss’ car took too long into a run, while Brad Keselowski had repeated issues on pit road that lost him valuable track position, allowing neither to challenge Busch, who led 157 laps.

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Nationwide Series Breakdown: 2008 Winn Dixie 250 at Daytona

*In a Nutshell:* Friday night’s race at Daytona was a true barnburner, slowed by only three cautions and run at a near-record pace. Unfortunately, Friday’s race was also as predictable as a TV movie -- with Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas dominating the field. Once the checkered flag flew, it was Denny Hamlin scoring the win, his third in the Nationwide Series for 2008. Hamlin’s victory also marked the ninth of the season for JGR’s No. 20 team, and the 12th win in 18 races for JGR this season in this division. Though Ford and Chevrolet had strong performers in Carl Edwards and JR Motorsports, respectively, in the end the horses under Hamlin’s hood proved to be insurmountable for any challengers -- even for his teammate Kyle Busch, who came home a solid second.

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