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Archives for May 2011

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Top Gear 300

by Ronald A. Rowe May 31st, 2011 | NASCAR, Nationwide Series, Racing News
Matt Kenseth’s day Saturday could be summed up by the same refrain that Dante repeats in the movie Clerks. Only instead of a mournful cry of despair, Kenseth can say “I wasn’t even supposed to be here today” with the joy that comes with an unexpected victory.

Kenseth does not participate in the Nationwide Series. He’s focused on winning as many Sprint Cup races as he can this year. But when teammate and Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne went down with an illness, Kenseth stepped in to participate in this one and only Nationwide Race in 2011. He made the
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All-Star Race

by Ronald A. Rowe May 26th, 2011 | NASCAR, Racing News, Sprint Cup Series
Carl Edwards won a tidy $1.2 million for winning the All-Star Race Saturday night.  In the end it came down to Edwards and Kyle Busch dueling for the lead.  A textbook pit stop on the final scheduled break gave Edwards a slight lead, which he refused to relinquish.

As pretty as Edwards' victory was, his victory celebration was just plain ugly.  He ripped up the front of his car on a non-existent drain.  He can be excused for that lousy bit of driving after putting on a clinic all evening, although the fact that Edwards sounded only half-joking when he
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John Deere Dealers 250

by Ronald A. Rowe May 24th, 2011 | NASCAR, Nationwide Series
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wasn't just the Best of the Rest on Saturday. While it is true that he accomplished what it takes to win that semi-coveted award at the John Deere Dealers 250 by being the first non-Sprint Cup driver to cross the finish line, he did much more than that.

He actually won the race. Stenhouse beat not only his Nationwide-level competition, but all his competition. There were only two major Sprint Cup drivers in the race, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski, who finished second and third, respectively. But that shouldn't diminish the fact that
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5 Hour Energy 200

by Ronald A. Rowe May 19th, 2011 | NASCAR, Nationwide Series, Racing News
There's a new Best of the Rest in town. Justin Allgaier didn't finish the 5-Hour Energy 200, which opened the door for another driver who hasn't won a race this year to take the reins of the Nationwide points standings.


Elliot Sadler didn't win, of course. That honor went to Carl Edwards, who survived a scary close call that wrecked Joey Logano to win his 32nd career Nationwide victory. Sadler wasn't the top non-Sprint Cup driver on Saturday. That distinction belonged to Reed Sorenson, who finished third. Former points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and David
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FedEx 400

by Ronald A. Rowe May 17th, 2011 | NASCAR, Sprint Cup Series
Jimmie Johnson dominated from the pole. The FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks was the Champ's to win. With 207 laps led, the ending of the race was a foregone conclusion. I, and my fellow NASCAR writer brethren who are honest enough to admit it, was already mentally writing my headline praising yet another Jimmie Johnson victory.

Then came the pit stop. Matt Kenseth took two tires and got back on the track quickly. Johnson, and most of the other leaders, took four. And that was the difference in the race.

Had their been a late
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Royal Purple 200

by Ronald A. Rowe May 12th, 2011 | NASCAR, Nationwide Series
The Nationwide Series is getting to be a little bit like LeBron James playing in a school yard pick-up game.  Or Brett Favre playing against a high school football team.  Or Tiger Woods in a singles bar.  Nobody else has a chance.

Kyle Busch won his 5th Nationwide Series race of this young season on Friday night.  That's fully half the races run so far in 2011.  He is now just one win away from tying Mark Martin for the winningest driver in Nationwide Series history.  At the pace he's going, he'll own the record outright within the month.  And
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Southern Showtime 500

by Ronald A. Rowe May 10th, 2011 | NASCAR, Sprint Cup Series
There's a new name on the leader board. Regan Smith joins Trevor Bayne as the only two non-superstars (at least they haven't established themselves as superstars yet) to win a Sprint Cup race so far in 2011. Smith and Bayne are now enshrined along with marquee names like Kurt & Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, and Jimmie Johnson as winners of a Sprint Cup series race this year.

When the race came down to a duel between Smith and Edwards, I expected just another big name winner of another big name race this
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Crown Royal 400

by Ronald A. Rowe May 5th, 2011 | NASCAR, Sprint Cup Series
The name changes, but the results stay the same. No matter to whom NASCAR sells the naming rights, there is a race every spring at Richmond International Raceway. And every spring the man standing triumphant in victory lane is Kyle Busch.

The race came down to a two man contest between Busch and Denny Hamlin. The same Denny Hamlin who is Busch's teammate at Joe Gibbs Racing. The same Denny Hamlin whose home track is Richmond. The same guy who shared his notes on the track with Busch, giving him the fuel strategy he
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Bubba Burger 250

by Ronald A. Rowe May 3rd, 2011 | NASCAR, Nationwide Series
Denny Hamlin only entered two Nationwide Series races this year.  He kind of had to race at Richmond this weekend since he sponsored a charity race (which he won) at the track the night before.  If Hamlin's got to race he might as well win, which he obligingly did on Friday.  The finish was an anticlimax thanks to a caution on the 251st lap of the 250 lap race.

With just seven laps to go Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., the golden boy of the Nationwide series, ran out of gas.  Running in second place with a chance to regain the series
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