Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sam Hornish Jr Wins First NASCAR Nationwide Race at Phoenix

Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt

Becoming the first major NASCAR touring series in inaugurate the new pavement for the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway, the NASCAR Nationwide Series suited up for the Wypall 200 Saturday afternoon unaware if the race track will develop the critical second groove.

With the #88 Chevrolet in the series, JR Motorsports Aric Almirola took pole for the Wypall 200 who proceeded from the afternoon start to lead the race's first 66 laps. As the green fell for the Phoenix International Raceway 200-lap race, the yellow flag flew quickly. On lap 1, one-time 2011 Nationwide Series championship contender Reed Sorenson driving the #82 Dodge slammed into the rear of Brian Scott's #11 Toyota into turn 3. Scott's car was launched forward into the out wall of the turn while Sorenson spun. Brian Scott was unhurt in the accident that would collect additional vehicles. Behind the two cars of the main incident, a second wrecked occurred relating to the #7 Chevolet of Danica Patrick checking up. Patrick's car was sent sideways and backed into the wall crippling her chances of a good race run. The race vehicles of Tim Andrews, Johnny Chapman, Matt Frahm and Jeff Green were also caught in the multi-car accident eventually retiring from the Wypall 200. Danica Patrick would keep running to finish 21st in the event 4 laps down to the leader.

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/ Getty Images 

Pit stops proved pivotal to the outcome of the Wypall 200 NASCAR Nationwide race at Phoenix as the tire stop by the JR Motorsports crew would rob Aric Almirola of the first lead. On the right rear corner of the #88 Chevrolet, lug nuts missed on the wheel resulted with considerable track position lost in the event.

Sprint Cup Series regular Carl Edwards' moonlighting run in Saturday's Nationwide Series race also suffered a pit road related slowdown. Stopping to the attention of his pit crew, the race setup of the #60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang caused the front end to dive. When the front end suspension did not rebound quickly, the work by the front tire changer was complicated as the tire was difficult to remove from the front fender well. While the #60 Ford recovered with a strong charge at the end, Edwards lost several positions which could be proven valuable late in the Phoenix race.

In a race that involved only three drivers leading, NASCAR Nationwide Series regular and overall driver title leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr led following Almirola's pit road gaffe in the #6 Ford. The Roush Fenway Racing pilot led for a race-high 73 laps before losing spot to Sam Hornish Jr's Penske Racing Dodge in what was the final lead change of the Wypall 200 race on the 140th lap.

Besides competing for victory in the second-to-last NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Elliott Sadler were head-to-head for the racing division's championship. Roush Fenway Racing driver Stenhouse entered Phoenix with a 17-point gap over Kevin Harvick Incorporated Chevrolet pilot Elliott Sadler. On lap 191 of the Wypall 200, a championship-determining action took place when the #2 Chevrolet of Elliott Sadler. Heading down the backstretch prior to the turn, Sadler roared by the Jason Leffler and Aric Almirola on the newly-paved backstretch apron. The #2 Chevrolet was bumped from behind by the Jason Leffler into turn 3. Spinning out Sadler, Leffler swept up the #88 car of Almirola into the outer wall. Morgan Shepherd and Jeremy Clements were also significantly damaged in the wreck that ended Elliott Sadler's title hopes in the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series. Finishing 5th in the race, Ricky Stenhouse Jr is comfortably going to be crowned the 2011 Nationwide Series champion by finishing 38th or better.

With Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski in tow, Sam Hornish Jr driving the #12 Dodge drove the final 19 laps to win the Wypall 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Having made his first NASCAR event 5 years ago with the Nationwide Series (than-Busch Series) event at the Phoenix International Raceway, the former INDYCAR star Hornish Jr becomes a NASCAR race winner. Sam Hornish Jr also won two events in the IRL INDYCAR Series in 2001 and 2005 seasons.

Sprint Cup series regulars Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano crossed the start/finish line 2nd through 4th for the Wypall 200. Rounding out the top-10 for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is Trevor Bayne, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Truex, Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett.

The final race on the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule runs next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway During Ford Championship Weekend.

2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series
Wypall 200
Phoenix International Raceway
Race Results

12 Sam Hornish Jr. Alliance Truck Parts Dodge
22 Brad Keselowski Discount Tire Dodge
60 Carl Edwards World Financial Group Ford
18 Joey Logano GameStop / Call of Duty MW3 Toyota
6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Ford Drive one. Ford
16 Trevor Bayne Ford
33 Clint Bowyer Rheem Heating Cooling & Water Heating Chevrolet
20 Ryan Truex Martin Truex Jr. Foundation Toyota
31 Justin Allgaier Brandt Chevrolet
62 Michael Annett Oakley / Pilot Travel Centers / Flying J Toyota
70 David Stremme ForeTravel Motorcoach Chevrolet
87 Joe Nemechek AM/FM Energy Pellet & Wood Stoves Toyota
32 Ron Hornaday Dollar General Chevrolet
81 Blake Koch Dodge
34 Ricky Carmichael Monster Energy / QT QuikTrip Chevrolet
1 Mike Wallace I Hate Steven Singer! Chevrolet
9 Kenny Wallace TOYOTA Toyota
15 Timmy Hill / Lilly Trucking Ford
14 Eric McClure Hefty Black Out / Reynolds Chevrolet
52 Kevin Lepage Tilted Kilt Sports Bar Chevrolet
7 Danica Patrick Chevrolet
23 Robert Richardson Jr. North Texas Pipe Chevrolet
40 TJ Duke Merrill Lynch Chevrolet
51 Jeremy Clements Phoenix Automotive Cores Chevrolet
88 Aric Almirola Suave MEN / Fry's Food Stores Chevrolet
38 Jason Leffler Great Clips Chevrolet
2 Elliott Sadler OneMain Financial Chevrolet
89 Morgan Shepherd Victory in Jesus Racing Chevrolet
66 Steve Wallace 5-hour Energy Toyota
30 James Buescher Exide Chevrolet
19 Mike Bliss Millennium Salon / Spa Software & Elemnt Pymnt
28 Derrike Cope Chevrolet
80 D J Kennington NPP/Clark/Whitemud Dodge
44 Jeff Green Tri Star Motorsports Chevrolet
82 Reed Sorenson Foametix / Bullet Liner Dodge
49 Mark Green Acredale Vending Chevrolet
47 Scott Speed Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet
46 Chase Miller Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet
71 Matt Carter Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet
41 Johnny Chapman Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet
11 Brian Scott Shore Lodge Toyota
4 Tim Andrews Go Green Racing Ford
39 Matt Frahm TSP Powder Coating Ford

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