Nationwide gets energized: The 5 Hour Energy 250 Preview and Open Race Thread

I’m so happy that I requested off from work for my 26th birthday because I will be home to watch the Nationwide Series take to the unique Gateway International Speedway.

Gateway is a 1.25 mile speedway – that’s nothing new in this sport – butwhat makes Gateway unique is that it’s an oval track withdifferent banking on both sides.  Turns 1 and 2 with it’s 11 degree banking is similar to New Hampshire while turns 3 and 4 is closer to Phoenix with it’s 9 degree banking.  And the egg shape of the track is similar to Darlington.

Given the time of year you might say that Gateway is the Frankenstein’s Monster of Nascar Tracks.

This is also the first year that Gateway hosted two races (the first race was won by Carl Edwards – editor).

This week we would normally be heading to Memphis, but that track closed down.

This race is also important since it will be the last race at Gateway.  That’s right. The track that just got a second date will not be on the NNS curcuit in 2011.  Instead Nashville Speedway will take the July Gateway race andthis weekend will be left vacant.

That means that next year we will only see 34 races, instead of the 35 we’ve come to love.  Also, the week before this is being left vacant too.

You see it too don’t you?  Yep, rightwhen we will be in the thick of a Championship run, the Nationwide series will take a two week break before finishing off with 3 straight weeks.  I’m not sure how I feel about that. You could look at it like a first round bye, where teams can catch thier breath and make a title run or you could look at it like watching a game 7 World Series game run for 6 innings before a monsoon hits and they have to come back in two weeks to finish the final 3 innings to crown a champion. Let me know what you think in the comments section, I’d love to hear from you and especially from that Montgomery guy.

Entry List and more after the JUMP!

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Ent. Car # Driver Sponsor Manu. Owner
1 01 Mike Wallace TBA 10 Chevy Lori Davis
2 04 Jeremy Clements Boudreaux’s Butt Paste 10 Chevy Gene Vess
3 05 Willie Allen 31-W Insulation 10 Chevy Wayne Day
4 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Citifinancial 10 Ford Jack Roush
5 7 Danica Patrick GoDaddy.com 10 Chevy Bryan Mullet
6 09 Brian Scott TBA 10 Ford Robby Benton
7 10 Scott Wimmer TBA 10 Toyota Todd Braun
8 11 Brad Sweet TBA 10 Toyota Harry Scott Jr
9 12 Justin Allgaier Verizon Wireless 10 Dodge Roger Penske
10 13 Mike Harmon DriverMale.com 10 Dodge Jennifer Jo Cobb
11 15 Michael Annett No. 15 Pilot Flying J Coffee Toyota Camry 10 Toyota Bob Germain
12 16 Trevor Bayne ROUSH FENWAY 10 Ford Jack Roush
13 18 Brad Coleman Shore Lodge 10 Toyota Joe Gibbs
14 20 Matt Dibenedetto Bosch 10 Toyota Joe Gibbs
15 21 Morgan Shepherd Victory In Jesus 10 Chevy Richard Childress
16 22 Brad Keselowski Discount Tire 10 Dodge Jodi Geschickter
17 23 Peyton Sellers Brandt 10 Chevy Robert Richardson
18 24 Eric McClure Hefty Odor Block 09 Ford Ed Rensi
19 26 Brian Keselowski K-Automotive Motorsports 10 Dodge Bob Keselowski
20 27 Drew Herring enMotion 10 Ford Mike Curb
21 28 Kenny Wallace Kenny Wallace Racing Inc 10 Chevy Jay Robinson
22 32 Reed Sorenson Dollar General 10 Toyota Todd Braun
23 33 Mike Bliss Mad Croc Energy 10 Chevy Delana Harvick
24 34 Tony Raines Long John Silvers 10 Chevy Bob Jenkins
25 35 Jason Keller TBA 10 Chevy Mark Smith
26 36 Kevin Hamlin TBA 10 Chevy Mark Smith
27 38 Jason Leffler Great Clips 10 Toyota Ralph Braun
28 39 Sean Caisse TBA 10 Ford Archie St Hilaire
29 40 Jeff Green TBA 10 Chevy Curtis Key Sr
30 42 Brandon McReynolds TBA 10 Dodge Eddie Smith
31 49 Mark Green TBA 10 Chevy Jay Robinson
32 51 Stephan McCurley McCurley Racing 10 Chevy Michael McCurley
33 52 Tim Schendel TBA 10 Chevy Jimmy Means
34 56 Kevin Lepage RaceDaySponsor.com 10 Toyota John McNelly
35 60 Carl Edwards COPART 10 Ford Jack Roush
36 62 Brendan Gaughan Snap On 10 Toyota Rusty Wallace
37 66 Steve Wallace 5 Hour Energy 10 Toyota Rusty Wallace
38 70 Shelby Howard Foretravel 10 Chevy Mary Louise Miller
39 79 Tim Andrews 2nd Chance Race Parts 10 Ford Rick Russell
40 81 Michael McDowell Drive Reply-K-Love 10 Dodge Pat MacDonald
41 87 Joe Nemechek Gator.com 09 Chevy Andrea Nemechek
42 88 Josh Wise Realtree Outfitters 10 Chevy Dale Earnhardt Jr
43 89 Johnny Chapman Victory in Jesus Racing 10 Chevy Cindy Shepherd
44 90 Danny O’Quinn Jr TBD 09 Chevy Eddie D’hondt
45 91 Chase Miller TBD 09 Chevy Randy Humphrey
46 92 Andy Ponstein K-Automotive 10 Dodge Brian Keselowski
47 94 Carl Long ApostleSports.com 09 Dodge Frederick Bickford II
48 98 Paul Menard MASTERCRAFT/MENARDS 10 Ford Jack Roush
49 99 Ryan Truex Aaron’s Dream Machine 10 Toyota Michael Waltrip

 

Forty-nine will attempt to make the final Gateway race.  Wow, that’s a great turnout.  A lot of different teams and drivers this week.  Lets take it from the top.

The #1 car is MIA.  They had a chance to claw into the top 30, but have pretty much ended that run.

Danica Patrick will attempt her 3rd race in a row.  She’s looking to build on the solid run she had last week.

Wisconsin’s own Scott Wimmer returns this week.  He’s driving the #10 Toyota for Turner Motorsports.  Buescher and Carmichael will be in Martinsville for the Truck Race.  Wimmer is a guy I watched out here at the locals.  He’s a great driver who hasn’t really gotten as many opportunities as he should have.  He ran great for RCR last year, but nothing came of it.

Truck driver Brad Sweet will make his Nationwide Debut in the #11 Toyota for Turner Motorsports.  Sweet has yet to run a full schedule in Nascar.

Veteran Mike Harmon will attempt to qualify Jennifer Jo Cobb’s #13 Ford.  Cobb had plans to run full time in Nationwide in 2011, but money and sponsorship problems may cause her to put those plans on hold.  Cobb has said she will run in the truck series full time again next year.

Trevor Bayne will move over to the #16 Ford this week.  Bayne will be locked into the field so he should be able to focus on setting up the car for raceday.  No word yet on which Roush Fenway Ford Bayne will pilot in 2011, or if he will make the jump to Cup in a Richard Petty Ford.

Brad Coleman will take over Kyle Busch’s #18 Toyota, ending Busch’s run for a championship (heh – editor).

Matt DiBenedetto, the longest name in Racing, will take over the #20 Toyota this week.  Coleman and DiBenedetto are the future of Joe Gibbs racing.  I for one, would love to see these guys race full time in 2011.

Peyton Sellars, who’s own team was heavily penalized by Nascar, will drive for R3 Motorsports this week.  Sellarsis in talks with many a Nationwide team to try to go full time in 2011.

Mike Bliss will drive for Kevin Harvick Inc this week, as Kevin is in Martinsville for the Cup race.

Sean Caisse, whose name I can never spell right the first time, will return with Go Green Racing this week.  Caisse was at one time a Hendrick developemental driver.

Part time ARCA driver Brandon McReynolds will make his first Nationwide attempt driving for Team 42 Racing.

Stephen McCurley will make his 3rd attempt at a Nationwide debut.  I really want him to make the race just so he can leap that hurdle.

Tim Andrews and Second Chance Racing return again this week.  The team is working on a full schedule in 2011.

Josh Wise, who’s had 7 different numbers this year, will add to that by taking over the #88 this week.  Aric Almirola is in Martinsville.

Carl Long will make his second attempt at a debut in the #94 Dodge.  Long failed to get the COT only #68 car into 3 of the 4 COT races this year, and failed to get the #94 into it’s first race the last time he tried.  I like Long, but he’s proving to be a sub-par qualifier.

And last but far from least, we have Ryan Truex taking the #99 for a spin.  No Martin Truex this week.

Join us this Saturday October 23rd for the 5 Hour Energy 250 from Gateway International Speedway.  Coverage starts at 3pm eastern on ESPN2.  Enjoy!