Nationwide New Hampshire preview
For the first time in three weeks NASCAR's Nationwide Series will again join their Sprint Cup colleagues and be a major part of the upcoming weekend at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The Nationwide Series has been enjoying a trio of stand-alone events this month that was virtually free of the Sprint Cup visitors they often race against.
This Saturday, June 27th, the Nationwide Series will be running the Camping World RV Sales 200 presented by Turtle Wax. The race is 200 laps around the basic flat track known as "the Magic Mile."
NEW HAMPSHIRE STORY LINES
For the first time in eight years the name Petty will be involved in a Nationwide Series event. Richard Petty Motorsports, RPM, recently announced a five race deal with Braun Racing to field a Nationwide car. Auto Value-Bumper To Bumper will be the primary sponsor. RPM driver Elliott Sadler will make the team's Nationwide Series debut behind the wheel of the #10 Toyota. Kasey Kahne will drive the car during the remaining four scheduled races. The last time Richard Petty played an ownership role in the Nationwide Series was back in 2001 with driver Steve Grissom behind the wheel.
A recent announcement from the Mooresville, North Carolina based Braun Racing stated that part-time Nationwide Series driver Burney Lamar has been released from the team. Sprint Cup driver Brian Vickers is piloting Braun's #32 Dollar General Toyota for 17 races and Lamar was scheduled for the rest. However, the team has a good shot at winning the series' Owners Championship and felt they needed to strengthen their driver roster to make that happen. Team officials said they were looking at a rotating list of "strong drivers" to rotate with Vicker's schedule. By the way, Vickers will be making his 100th Nationwide Series start this Saturday at New Hampshire.
In other series notes driver Brandon Whitt recently announced his intent to leave the #61 Specialty Racing Ford to pursue other possible racing opportunity. The team announced that Matt Carter will take over the ride effective this Saturday at New Hampshire.
THE RACE BREAKDOWN
The Camping World RV Sales 200, presented by Turtle Wax, has 47 entries vying for the 43 starting positions.
The really phenomenal statistic here is the fact that 22 Nationwide Series races at New Hampshire has turned up 22 different winners. However there's a very hefty list of previous race winners who could end that streak. That list includes Jason Keller, Kenny Wallace, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Derrick Cope, Bobby Hamilton Jr and Joe Nemechek. The closest to a repeat winner at New Hampshire is team owner Jack Roush whose Fords has two wins with drivers Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards.
There's also a very good chance that we could see 23 races and 23 winners due to the presence of four drivers entered in Saturday's race who have never won at New Hampshire. That list includes Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Mike Bliss and Brad Keselowski. All four them are red hot in the Nationwide Series this season and could easily become the 23d winner on Saturday.
One thing is for sure: 2008 winner Tony Stewart will not be in Saturday's to become the next repeat winner.
Qualifying is expected to be a rather intense affair for this race. Out of the 47 entries, 17 of them are on the "go or go home" list meaning they don't have a guaranteed starting berth via the Nationwide Series owner's points and will have to make the race based on qualifying speed.
With both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series teams racing at the same track on the same weekend, for the first time in three weeks, that means the return of the double duty Cup drivers and teams. Often referred to as "insurance whackers", (we really need to find them a better name), there are 11 full-time Cup drivers and teams entered in this race.
Leading those 11 drivers are Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards who are running for the championship in both the Nationwide and Cup Series. Going into next Saturday Busch leads Edwards in the Nationwide championship standings by 127 points.
The Series' Raybestos Rookie Of The Year title race is starting to get pretty hot. Brendan Gaughan, representing Rusty Wallace Racing, has a five point lead over Justin Allgaier from Penske Racing.
In the Nationwide Series' manufacturer's points race Toyota leads those standings with 101 points followed by Chevrolet-91, Ford-90 and Dodge-48. However Chevrolet leads the Nationwide victory list at New Hampshire with eight.
The Camping World RV Sales 200, presented by Turtle Wax, will be aired live by ABC Sports at 2:30pm eastern time. by Dave Grayson