Sunday, November 14, 2010

Second Straight Nationwide Victory for Edwards at Phoenix

Photo Credit: Jason Smith/ Getty Images for NASCAR

With Brad Keselowski settling the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series title last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, the main focus through the final two races of this middle-level stock car tour was the racing action. The one-mile oval of Phoenix International Raceway supplies a quaint-essential mix of large track speed and short track competition.

Setting up 200 laps of Saturday afternoon action on the desert, Joey Logano secured the WYPALL 200 pole in morning qualifying. Breaking out to a lead through the first 24 race laps, Logano relinquished the first place position during pit stops made during the event's earliest caution for fluid originating from the #70 Chevrolet of Mark Green.

As several top vehicles pitted for fresh tires and fuel at this point of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race, the #35 Chevrolet of Tony Raines remained on track to lead when the WYPALL 200 resumed on lap 30. At a clear disadvantage on older tires, Raines was no match for the cars behind him on the restart. Aric Almirola was the first car to pass the #35 Chevrolet elevating the JR Motorsports #88 car to the front at Phoenix International Raceway.

Lasting for just 8 laps, Almirola's run with JR Motorsports (in preparation for a full campaign in the #88 Chevrolet in 2011) went far better than the drive of teammate Danica Patrick. Still learning the finer points of racing a stock car through her off time from the IZOD IndyCar Series, Patrick spent much of the race hovering in the low to mid-20s on track in the #7 Chevy. While running respectively, an incident between the #7 Chevrolet and the #27 Ford of Alex Kennedy got into a shoving match on-track. While Kennedy got into the car of Patrick on lap 133, the IndyCar star demonstrated her knowledge of the fine art of payback on the following lap. While mostly harmless to both vehicles, Danica Patrick's contact with the wall 24 laps later. The #7 Chevrolet would finish 7 laps down in 32rd place.

On several occasions, Carl Edwards held a lead of multiple seconds over second place runners.
With Edwards' Roush-Fenway Racing #60 Ford in a class of his own throughout the WYPALL 200, Kyle Bucsh was holding down the runner-up place for much of the race distance. While able to lure the lead of the Phoenix event for 10 laps total on the day, this Saturday afternoon race would not be Busch's 13th victory on the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide calender.

Fighting for best of the rest for the event, Busch's hopes for a good run was deflated (literally) by a softening tire on his #18 Toyota. Three laps after radioing the problem, Busch pitted on lap 163 to receive four fresh tires from his Joe Gibbs Racing crew. The #18 crew returned the driver quickly but Busch would drop one lap down to the leader. Some additional concern surrounded the #18 Toyota in the late laps as light smoke was pluming from the Joe Gibbs Racing vehicle. Fortunately, the smoke dissipated through the final circuits of the WYPALL 200 and would not present any problems as Busch used the advantage of new tire to hard charge back up to the lead lap for 16th place.

Coming across the line 5.12 seconds ahead of Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards easy ride in Phoenix ends with his 4th win of the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide season. Out front for 153 of this race's 200 laps, the impressive performance of the #60 Ford even surprised the driver.

Rounding out the top-5 for the WYPALL 200 at Phoenix International Raceway, 2nd place Kevin Harvick was followed by Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Reed Sorenson. In 6th place, Aric Almirola ended the NASCAR Nationwide Series backing up the 5th place finishing result after Friday's Camping World Truck Series event.

Almirola's effort in the #88 car did result in one critic, the driver of the #12 Dodge Justin Allgaier. While the #12 Penske Racing Dodge appeared destined to a strong top-5 effort running second early in the WYPALL 200, Allgaier realized his race car's performance faded in the last 50 laps. Dropping down the field but fighting to retain a top-10 result, the #88 Chevrolet of Almirola rushed the Penske Racing car of Allgaier in lap 193 into turn one. Sizing up the #12 Dodge on the inside, the #88 Chevrolet leaned on Allgaier while making the pass. Unhappy with the pass, contact after the checkered flag resulted with the #12 and #88 cars. Justin Allgaier did not appear outspokenly mad at Almirola but he was disappointed the driver of the #88 Chevy could not race him clean.

Next week, the NASCAR Nationwide Series tour will combat for the last time in 2010 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Ford 300 is set for late Saturday afternoon.     

NASCAR Nationwide Series
November 13, 2010
Phoenix International Raceway

Race Results

  1. 60 Carl Edwards Copart Ford
  2. 33 Kevin Harvick Rheem Solar Water Heaters Chevrolet
  3. 20 Joey Logano GameStop/Afterglow Toyota
  4. 22 Brad Keselowski Discount Tire Dodge
  5. 32 Reed Sorenson Dollar General Toyota
  6. 88 Aric Almirola GT Vodka Chevrolet
  7. 16 Colin Braun # Con-way Ford
  8. 12 Justin Allgaier Verizon Wireless Dodge 
  9. 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. # Blackwell Angus Beef Ford
  10. 66 Steve Wallace 5-hour Energy Toyota
  11. 09 Brian Scott # Shore Lodge Toyota
  12. 40 Mike Bliss Westerman Companies Chevrolet
  13. 98 Paul Menard Richmond/Menards Ford
  14. 17 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Ford
  15. 84 Cole Whitt Red Bull Toyota
  16. 18 Kyle Busch NOS Toyota
  17. 23 Coleman Pressley R3 Motorsports Chevrolet
  18. 15 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J Coffee Toyota
  19. 35 Tony Raines Chevrolet 
  20. 28 Kenny Wallace Iron Horse Jeans Chevrolet
  21. 10 Ricky Carmichael Monster Energy Toyota
  22. 11 James Buescher # Great Clips Toyota
  23. 99 Ryan Truex Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
  24. 27 Alex Kennedy Power Ford
  25. 05 David Starr Super Pawn Chevrolet
  26. 81 Michael McDowell Red Line Oil/Drive Reply Dodge
  27. 62 Brendan Gaughan Alliance Parts Toyota
  28. 87 Joe Nemechek Chevrolet
  29. 01 Mike Wallace Suncore Industries Chevrolet
  30. 83 John Borneman III Nicky Rottens/Borneman Plastering Ford
  31. 21 Morgan Shepherd Victory In Jesus Chevrolet
  32. 7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet
  33. 38 Jason Leffler Great Clips Toyota
  34. 00 Martin Truex Jr. Travis Pastrana Toyota
  35. 79 Tim Andrews 2nd Chance Race Parts Ford
  36. 49 David Green Jay Robinson Racing Chevrolet
  37. 90 Danny O'Quinn Jr. D'Hondt Humphrey Racing Chevrolet
  38. 70 Mark Green Iron Horse Jeans Chevrolet
  39. 91 David Gilliland D'Hondt Humphrey Racing Chevrolet
  40. 34 Charles Lewandoski Tri-Star Motorsports Chevrolet
  41. 26 Brian Keselowski K-Automotive Motorsports Dodge
  42. 92 Dennis Setzer K-Automotive Motorsports Dodge
  43. 36 Jeff Green Tri-Star Motorsports Chevrolet

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