Sunday, February 21, 2010

NASCAR Nationwide: Last Lap Move Allows Kyle Busch to Win Stater Bros 300

Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

After a carnage-filled NASCAR Nationwide Series opener at Daytona last week, race teams take comfort in the 2nd race on the 2010 Nationwide Series schedule being less hazardous on the race equipment. Unlike the Daytona International Speedway which saw accidents claim vehicles, the 300 miler at Auto Club Speedway is historically more prone to inflecting mechanical problems on the race machines due to the 2 mile's oval wide, long corners breeding long sustained RPMs.

Starting on the pole for the Stater Bros 300, Joey Logano was a staple at the front of the race leading 130 of the 150 scheduled laps. Surrendering the lead early to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch in the #18 Toyota, Busch held on for only 3 laps before Logano charged back to the top spot.

A much calmer event compared to the rough and tumble 300 mile race at Daytona, the first two cautions on lap 34 and lap 88 came out for debris on the racetrack. Second caution strategy allowed the #27 Ford driven by Greg Biffle an 11 circuit stint in the front spot, the longest of any non-Joe Gibbs Racing car. As Joey Logano retook the lead on lap 100 and led all but one lap up to lap 150. Mike Wallace in the #01 Chevy held the lead for 1 lap during the 3rd race caution between lap 120 to 124 resulting when Rick Stenhouse Jr and John Wes Towney wrecked on the backstretch.

As the race reached its final laps, Joey Logano was comfortably leading the Stater Bros 300. Within four laps to go, Logano lost his advantage after a yellow flag flew for Brendan Gaughan lost control of his #62 Toyota on turn 4. Logano was leading on race's scheduled lap 150 distance but since the field was under caution, the situation created a green-white-checkered scenario which pitting the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas of Busch and Logano on the front row to take the green flag.

On the restart, Logano's #20 Toyota held the lead but found himself under attack by the #18 Toyota on the outside line and the #27 Ford on the inside. Playing defense against both cars out of turn 1, Logano dived low to block Biffle but soon found his car skating high through the turn 2 corner. Greg Biffle on the inside took the lead out of turn 2 as Logano lost momentum to backside to 4th. Biffle led to field to the white flag, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and a resurgent Joey Logano were within prime pouncing position. With brief 3-wide racing into turn 3, the turn 4 exit saw Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle side-by-side heading to the checkered flag. Running down the frontstretch, Busch found just enough extra speed to lead his #18 Toyota to the start/finish line ahead of Greg Biffle's Ford by 2/3s of a car length. Kyle Busch's 31 win in his short NASCAR Nationwide Series career, he ties Jack 'Ironman' Ingram for wins in the touring series. Busch is still 17 wins away from Mark Martin who holds the record in the series with 48 victories.

In 3rd and 4th spot, Joey Logano was leading Brad Keselowski out of turn 4 until Keselowski's Dodge made contact with the #20 Toyota spinning Logano through the frontstretch's grass. Joey Logano would finish 4th but had a lot of sore feelings about the outcome of the Stater Bros 300. After the race, Joey Logano expressed considerable displeasure on the way Greg Biffle raced him on the restart. There exists some continuity issues between Biffle and Logano for the reason why the last lap spin occurred. Joey Logano laid fault on rough-driving from the #27 Ford of Biffle for causing his #20 car to shoot up the track on the 2nd to last lap. In countering the 19 year old's charge, Biffle suggested that the incident was "a rookie mistake".

Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images for NASCAR

Starting in her 2nd NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Danica Patrick was deeply challenged by the Auto Club Speedway track inside the #7 Chevrolet. Unable to find her way forward, Patrick race was haunted further by 2 pit road speed violations; the second which required a driver-thru penalty down pit lane under green dropping the #7 Chevy off the lead lap. A more humbling experience finishing 3 laps behind in 31st place, Danica Patrick gained a full-race of knowledge to apply to other events which includes the Sam's Club 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway next week.

With much of the focus of JR Motorsports directed towards Danica Patrick #7 Chevrolet, the debut of Kelly Bires in the team's #88 Chevy started rather quietly. Missing Daytona due to Dale Earnhardt Jr racing the #88 in the event, Kelly Bires welcome to the team was further silenced thanks in part to a 32nd place spot from qualifying. However, as Bires takes over the car driven last year by Brad Keselowski, the 25-year old instantly began improving his position on the track breaking into the top 10 in the last one-third of the race. Bires would bring the JR Motorsports #88 Chevrolet across the finish line in 8th place, an impressive 24 spot improvement in 152 laps.

Worth noting also in this Nationwide race at Auto Club Speedway is Brian Scott. Having a strong going through the beginning of the event, Scott rode closely behind the #20 of Logano. However, his #11 AccuDoc Toyota began to backside finishing 10th place on the day.

2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series Stater Bros 300 Auto Club Speedway

Pos |Car # |Driver |Sponsor/Car Make
1) 18 Kyle Busch Z-Line Designs Toyota 
2) 27 Greg Biffle Red Man Moist Snuff Ford
3) 22 Brad Keselowski Discount Tire Dodge
4) 60 Carl Edwards Copart Ford
5) 20 Joey Logano GameStop/Mario Kart Toyota
6) 66 Steve Wallace 5 hour Energy Toyota
7) 88 Kelly Bires Chevrolet
8) 32 Brian Vickers Dollar General Stores Toyota
9) 12 Justin Allgaier Verizon Wireless Dodge
10) 11 Brian Scott AccuDoc Toyota
11) 99 Trevor Bayne Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
12) 01 Mike Wallace Monster Diesel Chevrolet
13) 1 James Buescher Phoenix Racing Chevrolet
14) 38 Jason Leffler Great Clips Toyota
15) 43 Scott Lagasse Jr. Dr. Gadget/ Ford
16) 09 Scott Riggs RAB Racing Ford
17) 15 Michael Annett Pilot Travel Centers Toyota
18) 16 Colin Braun Roush-Fenway Ford
19) 98 Paul Menard Richmond/Menards Ford
20) 35 Jason Keller TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet
21) 81 Michael McDowell Crusader Staffing Associates Dodge
22) 42 Parker Kligerman Smith Ironworks Dodge
23) 87 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet
24) 62 Brendan Gaughan South Point Hotel and Casino Toyota
25) 34 Tony Raines Long John Silver's Chevrolet
26) 10 David Reutimann Beringer Toyota
27) 40 Mike Bliss Key Motorsports Chevrolet
28) 05 Willie Allen 31W Insulation/CertainTeed Chevrolet
29) 28 Kenny Wallace Blue Ox/Zimmzang Chevrolet
30) 21 John Wes Townley Zaxby's Chevrolet
31) 7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet
32) 70 Mark Green ML Motorsports Chevrolet
33) 23 Robert Richardson Jr. 3R Motorsports Chevrolet
34) 26 Brian Keselowski Double Tree Suites Dodge
35) 24 Eric McClure Hefty Ford
36) 73 Derrike Cope Asset Protect Dodge
37) 38 61 Josh Wise Stratosphere Ford
38) 33 Kevin Harvick Rheem Tankless Chevrolet
39) 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. # CitiFinancial Ford
40) 56 Kevin Lepage Start Energy Drink Toyota
41) 07 Danny Efland Shred 360/M&W Towing Chevrolet
42) 96 Dennis Setzer Stratosphere Dodge
43) 83 John Borneman III Twisted X Boots/Red Line Oil Ford

No comments:

Post a Comment