Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winners and Losers: Can Kyle Busch Win His First Nationwide Race at LVMS?

The NASCAR Nationwide series left Daytona and headed to California for the Stater Bros. 300. For the first time this season, the teams would be able to compare their equipment to the competition's.

Check out the winners and losers of the Stater Bros. 300.



Winner

Kyle Busch

Even though Kyle Busch took the outside pole on Saturday, Busch continued to say over his radio that he did not have a car good enough to win.

Busch struggled with handling all day long. It took a late restart that saw the dominating car of Logano shuffled out of the lead and Greg Biffle and Busch battling for the win. Busch and Biffle banged their way to the finish and Busch took the checkered.

On Saturday, Busch hopes to find a similar result at his home track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch’s one win at the desert track came last year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series race. In the NNS, he has yet to find victory circle there.

In six starts, Busch’s average finish is 23.0 and in his last two starts he has finished 31st and 30th due to accidents. Busch has one top five at LVMS and that was in 2007, when he finished second. I would expect the results on Saturday to be different.

Points: Third



Kelly Bires

In case you did not know it, JR Motorsports' other driver, Kelly Bires, made his team debut on Saturday. He did it under the radar and came home with a solid seventh place finish.

Bires had a poor qualifying run that had them starting 32nd on Saturday. Bires and his crew were confident they could rebound and make it to the front.

They did not lead the race, but Bires made his way into the top 10 using the long green flag runs and pit strategy.

It was an impressive run for Bires, who has been overshadowed by his part-time teammate, Danica Patrick.

Bires now will head to Las Vegas with momentum on his side. He has only run twice at LVMS with an average start of 17th and an average finish of 26th; his best finish was 15th in 2008.

Bires has a long road ahead of him to rebound from not being entered at Daytona. He has the talent to run up front, but it’s all a matter of limiting mistakes both on pit road and on the track.

Points: 30th



Losers

Joey Logano

Joey Logano led over 100 laps, but it was his teammate, Busch, who took the checkered flag.

Logano had the best car out there all day long on Sunday. They lost the lead early but got it back from Busch.

On the final restart of the race, Logano was shuffled to third after contact between him and Biffle. Logano was not able to regain the lead after then getting spun into the infield after contact between himself and Brad Kesleowski. He finished fifth.

It was a disappointing finish to the race but heading to Vegas, Logano has a lot to look forward to. Logano will be factor for the race on Saturday. He has had fast race cars every week.

Like his teammate, he needs to run a clean race and avoid making mistakes. I expect to see him up front and leading laps at LVMS this weekend.

Points: Second



John Wes Townley

It was an impressive start for John Wes Townley, the Richard Childress Racing driver, after he qualified sixth for Saturday’s race. He ran in the top 10 for most of the first half of the race.

It was on lap 119 that Townley’s day turned for the worse. Townley’s car got loose and spun down the track, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., unable to avoid Townley, slammed the inside wall hard.

Townley finished 30th after what looked like a promising day. Townley has good equipment under him, race-winning equipment, but he is still learning how to minimize mistakes.

When he comes to LVMS, he will only have one other start at the desert track and that was a 38th-place finish in 2009. He should be able to improve that average finish with a strong run on Saturday.

Points: 27th



Final lap…

If you are looking for a few dark horses on Saturday, check out Brad Keselowski. His average finish of 28th does not tell the whole story.

Last year, he had a slow start to the season and that continued at LVMS. I expect him after his third-place finish on Saturday at ACS to be running up near the front.

I would also look out for Brian Scott. After his impressive run at ACS, he is carrying a lot of momentum. He was one of the few drivers who were able to come up and challenge Logano.

I expect to see him start near the front. He has experience at this track when he ran in the Camping World Truck Series. Two very different vehicles but I am confident he will be challenging for the win on Saturday.

My two questions for the upcoming race:

Can Kyle Busch finally win at LVMS in the Nationwide series?

Can Danica Patrick rebound in her final NASCAR race until June?

These are just two of the many questions heading into Las Vegas on Saturday. The Sam’s Town 300 starts at 4 ET on ESPN2.

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