Drivers to watch for: Nationwide Series

Trevor Bayne and Danica Patrick at the Night of Champions in Phoenix in February.
Both return to action in the Nationwide Series this weekend at Chicagoland.
Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Phoenix International Raceway
The Nationwide Series will be in Chicagoland this weekend. The race is scheduled for Saturday, June 4, start time at 7 p.m. CST/8 p.m. EST and qualifying is scheduled prior to the race at 3:35 p.m. This weekend, JR Motorsports and Roush Fenway have two drivers returning to the track.

JR Motorsports

Danica Patrick is back to NASCAR after a short break from the series to focus on open wheel racing. She finished 10th at the Brickyard's biggest race, the Indianapolis 500. She will not be seen in the bright green car - she's scheduled to race the JR Motorsports No. 7 Tissot car. Her last race in the Nationwide series was at Bristol, where she crashed and didn’t get to finish. Her best finish was 4th in the Sam's Town 300 in Las Vegas, Nev., where she made history as the highest-finishing woman in a NASCAR race. There is speculation that she will race full time in Nationwide next season, but no specific details or answers are available at this time. Patrick does plan to race in the open wheel car for the New Hampshire Motor Speedway's re-opening for the IZOD Indy 225 race on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2011.

Aric Almirola’s season isn’t off to a terrible start, but his performance has been below expectations. This weekend he will be in the No. 88 Chevrolet. Last weekend, he raced the 88 Hellman's car to finish in ninth, his sixth top-10 finish this season. Currently he sits seventh in points.
Danica and Aric will be available Saturday for an autograph session in front of Chicagoland Speedway between 1:30 and 2:30 PM.

Roush Fenway

Trevor Bayne is back after a few weeks off by the doctor’s orders. Bayne was ill and treated at the Mayo Clinic and took the time he needed to feel stronger before getting back into a race car. Bayne said to the press last weekend that the doctors do not have a diagnosis for why he was sick yet, but he felt better last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway; at that time, Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Racing, emphasized that "the doctors that he (Bayne) has seen which have been multiple, particulcarly at the Mayo Clinic, have cleared him as being fit for racing."

Bayne is the youngest driver to have won the Daytona 500 after a lucky chance to race the Wood Brothers; No. 21 car. Although a career highlight for Bayne, that win did not count for points for the Sprint Cup series (because of the new points rules.) In Nationwide, Bayne has eight starts with one top five and five top 10s.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. spent a week in the spotlight for being the first Nationwide driver to win a Nationwide race this season. At Charlotte, he claimed the pole and finished in fourth, putting him second in points; he has five top-5 finishes and 10 top-10 finishes. Stenhouse Jr.’s luck didn’t end there, because the Wood Brothers' car needed a driver to replace Trevor Bayne. Stenhouse Jr. debuted in his first ever Sprint Cup race and it was for the Coca-Cola 600; he started in ninth position and after some struggles he finished in the 11th spot.
Drivers to watch for: Nationwide Series Drivers to watch for: Nationwide Series Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, June 03, 2011 Rating: 5