The Ford Championship Weekend featuring Gibbs vs Penske: The Ford 300 Preview and Open Race Thread

I’m a bit sad while writing this.  I’ve greatly enjoyed the past few months, writing these preview and review articles.  I’ve been told that I will be retained for the 2011 season, which is great.  It will be a few months until Daytona but I’ll still be posting in that time and hopefully, I’ll hone my skills a bit and we can have a great 2011 season.  My hope is that RnR readers have enjoyed this look into Nationwide Racing.

A lot of you may have noticed that media outlets really don’t care much about the Nationwide Series.  That is, unless Danica Patrick is in a race.  It’s a shame.  Nationwide Racing is not like the D-League, it’s more like College Football.  The NCAA gets a ton of press at any given time during the year, and Nationwide as well as Truck Racing should be getting the fair share as well.

I was shocked to see a tiny two paragraph article in my local newspaper with the headline “Edwards wins race, Keselowski Championship”.  Someone winning a championship should be at least a quarter page article.  So much goes into a Championship.  So much that none of us hear about.  My hope is that we find a weekly Camping World Truck writer, as well as a ARCA/K&N writer.  Nascar RnR is always growing, and we could very well become the source for the series that you care about, even if your media outlets don’t.  Shining a spotlight on truly great racing is all we care about here.  It doesn’t matter if the final race of 2010 doesn’t have Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson or Denny Hamlin in it.

What the race does have is a tight owners battle, as well as a handful of future Cup drivers getting ready to beat and bang on each other for nothing more then a chance at a trip to victory lane.  You won’t be seeing any points racing in this race.  All you will be seeing is forty-three guys all chasing one thing.  A win at Homestead.  Yet, there is one thing that two drivers will be chasing that the other forty-one will not be: The Owners Championship.

Heading into Homestead, Kyle Busch just needs to finish close enough to Brad Keselowski for Busch’s 41 point lead on The Penske Dodge to hold.  Busch will be going all out in the race anyways, but could we see some restrant from Busch?  Could we see some points racing?

I figured you may want to know a little history of the Owners Championship.  The OC uses the same points system the Drivers championship uses.  With just two exceptions.  One, you can have 35 different drivers in a car and still win the Owners Championship.  Two, if your team misses the race, you still get points for attempting to qualify.  Very few points, but better then nothing.

In the history of the Nationwide Series, only three times has the driver who won the championship not had his team win the Owner’s Championship.  In 2008, Clint Bowyer won the Nationwide Drivers Championship driving for Richard Childress Racing, but it was Joe Gibbs Racing that took home the Owners Championship.  That year it was the #20 Toyota that took home the trophy.  It took four different drivers to beat Clint Bowyer and the RCR #2 Chevy.  Gibbs won the title by just 12 points.  Tony Stewart won five of the nine events he entered in the #20 Toyota.  Denny Hamlin took home the win in two of the five events he entered.  Kyle Busch won once in his three starts, and Joey Logano won just one of the eighteen events he entered.

In 2007, Carl Edwards gave Roush Racing a Nationwide Drivers Championship, but the Owners Championship was not even close.  The Richard Childress Racing #29 Chevy beat the Joe Gibbs #20 by 255 points.  Edwards’ #60 Ford finished third in the Owners standings, 303 behind.  That year it took the combined strength of just two RCR drivers.  Jeff Burton and Scott Wimmer.  Wimmer raced the 29 Chevy in 16 races, but failed to win.  Jeff Burton raced the other 19 races, and won five times.

In 2003, which is the first year that we had a split championship decision, Richard Childress Racing’s #21 Chevy bested the #5 Chevy from Hendrick Motorsports by 261 points.  The fact that the #5 Chevy was driven by 2003 Nationwide Series Champion Brian Vickers shouldn’t be a big surprise.  It took the combined might of Kevin Harvick and Johnny Sauter to beat out the surprise champion Brian Vickers.  Johnny Sauter did just enough in his 16 races with the team to not offset Harvick’s dominance.  Sauter may not have won, but Harvick went to victory lane three times in the #21, in 18 races.  Harvick is a Nationwide Legend.  He was the first Double-Duty driver as well.  So this brings us up to 2010.  Joe Gibbs Racing is looking for it’s third straight Owners Championship, the #18 team is looking for it’s second straight, and Kyle Busch is looking for one last chance to add to his record setting 2010 campaign.  Being a part of the Owners Championship winning race team would be a nice honor.

Entry List and More after the JUMP!

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 David Starr CASH AMERICA 10 Chevy Wayne Day
4 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Citifinancial 10 Ford Jack Roush
5 7 Danica Patrick 10 Chevy Bryan Mullet
6 09 Brian Scott Shore Lodge 10 Toyota Robby Benton
7 10 Jason Leffler ABF 10 Toyota Todd Braun
8 11 David Reutimann Rexall 10 Toyota Harry Scott Jr
9 12 Justin Allgaier Verizon Wireless 10 Dodge Roger Penske
10 15 Michael Annett TBD 10 Toyota Bob Germain
11 16 Colin Braun Con-way 10 Ford Jack Roush
12 17 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway 10 Ford Jack Roush
13 18 Kyle Busch Z-Line 10 Toyota Joe Gibbs
14 20 Joey Logano GameStop 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 Coleman Pressley R3 Motorsports 10 Chevy Robert Richardson
18 24 Eric McClure Hefty Odor Block 09 Ford Ed Rensi
19 26 Sam Hornish Jr Alliance 10 Dodge Bob Keselowski
20 27 Chase Mattioli TBA 10 Ford Mike Curb
21 28 Kenny Wallace Federated Auto Parts 10 Chevy Jay Robinson
22 31 James Buescher Wolfpack Energy Services 10 Chevy Steve Turner
23 32 Reed Sorenson Dollar General 10 Toyota Todd Braun
24 33 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John’s 10 Chevy Delana Harvick
25 34 Tony Raines TBA 10 Chevy Bob Jenkins
26 35 Jason Keller TBA 10 Chevy Mark Smith
27 36 Jeff Green TBA 10 Chevy Mark Smith
28 38 Kasey Kahne Great Clips 10 Toyota Ralph Braun
29 39 Sean Caisse Tork Performance 10 Ford Archie St Hilaire
30 40 Mike Bliss Westerman Companies 10 Chevy Curtis Key Sr
31 42 Parker Kligerman Chippers 10 Dodge Eddie Smith
32 49 David Green TBA 10 Chevy Jay Robinson
33 56 Kevin Lepage 10 Toyota John McNelly
34 60 Carl Edwards COPART 10 Ford Jack Roush
35 62 Brendan Gaughan South Point Hotel and Casino 10 Toyota Rusty Wallace
36 66 Steve Wallace 5 Hour Energy 10 Toyota Rusty Wallace
37 70 Shelby Howard Foretravel 10 Chevy Mary Louise Miller
38 79 Tim Andrews 2nd Chance Race Parts 10 Ford Rick Russell
39 81 Michael McDowell Red Line Oil 10 Dodge Pat MacDonald
40 87 Joe Nemechek 09 Chevy Andrea Nemechek
41 88 Aric Almirola GT Vodka 10 Chevy Dale Earnhardt Jr
42 90 Danny O’Quinn Jr TBD 09 Chevy Eddie D’hondt
43 91 David Gilliland TBD 09 Chevy Randy Humphrey
44 92 Brian Keselowski K-Automotive 10 Dodge Brian Keselowski
45 98 Paul Menard RICHMOND/MENARDS 10 Ford Jack Roush
46 99 Martin Truex Jr OUT! Pet Care 10 Toyota Michael Waltrip


Just a few things to note:

Jason Leffler steps into the #10 Toyota this week as Kasey Kahne rides the #38.  It’s the final race for Toyota and Turner Motorsports.  They will be switching to Chevy to keep in line with thier Truck Series deal.

It’s a week for farewells.  Justin Allgaier will take the #12 Dodge for it’s final ride.  He will join Turner Motorsports in 2011.

Your eyes do not decieve you.  That is Sam Hornish Jr (or as From the Marbles calls him “Dances with Walls) in the 26 Dodge.  Keselowski’s team has a deal with Penske Racing, which is why you’ve seen Parker Kligerman in the 26 at times this year.  Many believe that Hornish will be removed from the #77 Dodge in the Cup series and will drive Nationwide full time in 2011.  Having Hornish entered in the Ford 300 only supports that rumor.  I would expect Hornish to take over Allgaier’s #12.  Where Parker Kligerman fits in at Penske next year is anybodys guess.

Chase Mattioli will pilot the #27 Ford this week.  We all hope that Baker Curb returns next year, hopefully with a full time sponsor.  Baker Curb started this year with full support on the #27 from Red Man, but a new law prohibits those types of sponsorships on racecars.  They also started the year with a second full time ride.  The #43 had Scott Lagasse Jr as full time driver, but sponsorship problems caused Baker Curb to cut Lagasse and eventually close down the team.

James Buescher will enter the #31 Chevy.  That means Buescher will be the only Chevy in Turner Motorsports five entries this week.

Sean Caisse returns this week in the #39.  Last we saw Caisse he was giving one of the best (or worst) interviews of the season.  He called out Brendan Gaughan and Danica Patrick for poor choices made on the racetrack.

Tim Andrews returns with Second Chance racing this week in the #79.  This team will try to run full time in 2011.  Good luck to them.  So far, they have done very well.

Brian Keselowski moves to his start and park #92 Dodge this week since Hornish is driving his ride.

Tune in Saturday at 4:00pm eastern for some great afternoon racing from the Nationwide Series as they head to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Ford 300.  Enjoy!

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