What a wild race. And a wierd one. During qualifing we saw 3 different drivers spin out. Carl Long actually spun twice during his run. Then once race day came, we had two early accidents.
Danica Patrick had a quiet day, and actually came home with her best finish of 2010, 21st. She was two laps down. But given the last 3 races for her ended below 25th, it was a step in the right direction.
The race came down to a 9 lap shootout after Steven Wallace was booted into the wall. Martin Truex looked ready to pounce and win this one as he had 13 less laps on his tires then Keselowski, and was running strong all day. Somehow, even on old tires, Special K was able to hold off the hard charging Truex, and with 5 laps to go actually pulled away from the paw print spotted #00 Toyota.
It was Keselowski's 11th Nationwide victory of his career, as well as the 5th this season for him.
It was also the second COT win for Keso, meaning that he will be a treat next year as well. Keselowski leads the points by 450. He needs to leave Gateway with a 483 point lead to clinch the championship next week. Which means he has to make up 33 points on Edwards. Even if he doesn't clinch at Gateway, I would expect to see him clinch after Texas. That doesn't mean Nationwide will stop being exciting. Quite the opposite, with no title to win you'll see guys go out there and try everything to win.
Results and more after the JUMP!
|1||3||22||Brad Keselowski||Discount Tire Dodge||200||190||5||128.4||$57,400||Running||3||46|
|2||5||00||Martin Truex Jr.||Out! Pet Care Toyota||200||175||5||114.2||$55,025||Running||2||20|
|3||9||12||Justin Allgaier||Verizon Wireless Dodge||200||165||112.5||$43,743||Running|
|4||4||20||Joey Logano||GameStop / Guitar Hero Toyota||200||165||5||117.1||$34,850||Running||1||8|
|5||1||21||Clint Bowyer||Zaxby's Chevy||200||160||5||123.1||$37,925||Running||2||29|
|6||10||18||Kyle Busch||Z-Line Designs Toyota||200||160||10||135.9||$25,650||Running||5||84|
|7||7||32||Reed Sorenson||Dollar General Toyota||200||146||95.2||$27,203||Running|
|8||15||88||Aric Almirola||Hellmann's Chevy||200||147||5||89.7||$25,763||Running||1||1|
|9||2||1||Ryan Newman||Phoenix Construction Chevy||200||138||98.9||$18,900||Running|
|10||14||33||Kevin Harvick||Rheem Tankless Water Heaters Chevy||200||139||5||96.9||$18,075||Running||1||2|
|11||21||62||Brendan Gaughan||South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota||200||130||85.0||$22,918||Running|
|12||19||11||David Reutimann||Rexall / Dollar General Toyota||200||127||89.6||$15,850||Running|
|13||11||60||Carl Edwards||Copart.com Ford||200||124||97.1||$15,700||Running|
|14||13||6||Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #||CitiFinancial Ford||200||121||74.4||$22,393||Running|
|15||24||38||Jason Leffler||Great Clips Toyota||200||118||82.2||$24,193||Running|
|16||30||10||James Buescher #||AccuDoc Solutions Toyota||200||120||5||75.3||$20,943||Running||1||8|
|17||25||17||Trevor Bayne||Roush Fenway Ford||200||112||80.8||$14,475||Running|
|18||39||43||Josh Wise||OTWcrew.com / Ingersoll Rand Dodge||200||109||62.5||$14,075||Running|
|19||12||16||Colin Braun #||Con-way Freight Ford||199||106||76.4||$20,368||Running|
|20||34||34||Tony Raines||Long John Silvers Chevy||198||103||64.8||$21,368||Running|
|21||18||7||Danica Patrick||GoDaddy.com Chevy||198||100||66.4||$20,068||Running|
|22||23||25||Kelly Bires||Raybestos Ford||198||97||58.1||$13,500||Running|
|23||43||24||Eric McClure||Hefty Odor Block Ford||198||94||49.4||$20,268||Running|
|24||27||05||David Starr||Cash America Chevy||197||91||49.2||$19,768||Running|
|25||35||01||Mike Wallace||TireBuyer.com Chevy||197||88||51.0||$20,118||Running|
|26||31||81||Michael McDowell||DeWafelbakkers/Red Line Oil Dodge||196||85||55.1||$19,593||Running|
|27||42||28||Kenny Wallace||Kengor Metals Chevy||195||82||38.0||$19,468||Running|
|28||22||09||Brian Scott #||Shore Lodge Ford||192||79||56.9||$19,393||Running|
|29||16||66||Steve Wallace||5-hour Energy Toyota||188||76||70.1||$19,343||Accident|
|30||38||27||Hermie Sadler||CruiseOne / enMotion Ford||188||73||46.9||$19,993||Running|
|31||40||40||Mike Bliss||Westerman Companies Chevy||176||70||42.8||$19,238||Running|
|32||37||35||Jason Keller||TriStar Motorsports Chevy||170||67||39.6||$19,153||Running|
|33||41||23||Robert Richardson Jr.||Pink and Blue for Two Chevy||130||64||37.6||$19,093||Accident|
|34||20||04||Jeremy Clements||Boudreaux's Butt Paste Chevy||118||61||58.7||$12,590||Rear Gear|
|35||6||98||Paul Menard||Goof Off/ Menards Ford||117||63||5||86.5||$12,610||Engine||1||2|
|36||32||15||Michael Annett||Valvoline Toyota||73||55||34.2||$18,993||Accident|
|37||17||99||Ryan Truex||Out! Pet Care Toyota||72||52||61.0||$18,958||Accident|
|38||28||56||Kevin Lepage||RaceDaySponsor.com Toyota||25||49||39.0||$12,435||Vibration|
|39||29||70||Shelby Howard||K21 Cancer Care Fund / ForeTravel Chevy||19||46||36.0||$18,863||Accident|
|40||26||49||Mark Green||FrontlineWraps.com Chevy||12||43||32.9||$12,365||Electrical|
|41||36||87||Joe Nemechek||HostGator.com Chevy||10||40||34.7||$18,803||Accident|
|42||33||36||Jeff Green||TriStar Motorsports Chevy||4||37||29.8||$12,290||Ignition|
|43||8||26||Parker Kligerman||DODGE Dodge||3||34||30.4||$12,291||Accident|
It was rough seeing young guys like Parker Kligerman, Michael Annett, and Ryan Truex taken out of this race so quickly.
In a press conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway this week JR Motorsports officials announced that Danica Patrick will drive the #7 GoDaddy.com Chevy in the first four Nationwide race of 2011. The races beyond that have not been determined, although Patrick will take on a schedule similar to that of her 13-race rookie campaign.
The first four races include the season-opening DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 13) followed by the 200-mile race at Phoenix International Raceway (Feb. 26), the 300-mile race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, (March 5) and the 150-mile dash at Bristol Motor Speedway (March 19). I'm excited to see her at Bristol.
Patrick will then return to the IndyCar Series to dedicate full-time attention to open-wheel racing, making sporadic returns to NASCAR throughout the year.
Friday's announcement also included the unveiling of the 2011 paint scheme for Patrick's No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevy. Kelley Earnhardt also said that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will run 4 races in the #7, and the car will run the full season. No word yet on anyone else who might be driving it.
News also broke that Patrick will be driving the 7-Eleven IRL entry next season for Andretti Racing. 7-Eleven is leaving Tony Kanaan. Also heard that Jeff Gordon could land 7-Eleven for his #24 Sprint Cup Chevy. This would stand to reason as Patrick is a Hendrick driver and plans are for her to join Nascar full time in 2013, when her current contract ends with Andretti Racing. You could make the case for her to take over for Gordon in 3 years time - of course a lot would have to happen for that to come true.
The battle for the top 30 took an interesting turn. Shelby Howard was taken out early, which allowed the 81 team to cut the deficit to just 68 points. Heres the battle:
We head back to Illinios next week as the Nationwide boys head to Gateway and I celebrate my 26th birthday. Check back later in the week for the preview of the 5 Hour Energy 250 from Gateway International Raceway! Enjoy!