And then there were five: The Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage Review

Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCARCarl Edwards, driver of the #60 Fastenal Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 Miles of Courage at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 14, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. via nascar-assets.americaneagle.com


Carl Edwards won.  Yep.

Only five drivers remain in the battle for the 2011 Nationwide Championship.  Jason Leffler has been eliminated with three races to go.  We now go on a two week recouping break before we hit 'em hard to end the season.  Five Drivers are still in it, and only Sadler or Stenhouse can leave Texas the 'Points Leader'.

Ricky Stenhouse is trying to follow in the footsteps of other Roush Drivers who followed up a Rookie of The Year Title with a Nationwide Championship.  Johnny Benson won the Rookie of the Year crown in 1994 and then went on to win the 1995 Nationwide Championship. At the time, he was not a Roush Driver, but joined the team in 1998 in just his third year as a Cup Series Regular.  Kevin Harvick was Rookie of the year in 2000, and won his first Nationwide Title in 2001, the same year that Greg Biffle won the Rookie of the Year as a Roush driver.  In 2002, Greg became the third, and currently last, driver to follow up a Rookie of the Year win with a Championship.  I know Harvick has nothing to do with Roush, but the pedigree is there.  Benson, while not a great driver, did win three Nationwide Races and one Cup Series race before heading to the Truck Series where he won 14 races, and a Camping World Championship.  Kevin Harvick is a two time Nationwide Champion and a 18 race winner in the Cup Series.  Harvick is also a favorite to win this year's Sprint Cup.  Greg Biffle is a lifelong Roush Fenway driver, a 16 race winner in the Sprint Cup Series and a Truck Series Champion as well.  That's quite the legacy to follow for Ricky Stenhouse, should he hold on a win his first Nationwide Series Championship. 


Results and More after the JUMP!

Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Pts Status
1 5 60 Carl Edwards(i) Fastenal Ford 200 0 Running
2 6 18 Kyle Busch(i) Z-Line Designs Toyota 200 0 Running
3 11 16 Trevor Bayne Fastenal Ford Mustang Ford 200 41 Running
4 12 2 Elliott Sadler OneMain Financial Chevy 200 41 Running
5 8 11 Brian Scott Doosan Toyota 200 39 Running
6 3 22 Brad Keselowski(i) Discount Tire Dodge 200 0 Running
7 10 31 Justin Allgaier Brandt Chevy 200 37 Running
8 1 33 Paul Menard(i) Rheem/Menards Chevy 200 0 Running
9 2 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Blackwell Angus Ford 200 36 Running
10 9 32 Brian Vickers(i) Dollar General Chevy 200 0 Running
11 17 30 Jason Leffler AccuDoc Chevy 200 33 Running
12 7 12 Sam Hornish Jr. Alliance Truck Parts Dodge 200 32 Running
13 19 66 Steve Wallace 5-hour Energy Toyota 200 31 Running
14 13 7 Josh Wise Taxslayer.com Chevy 200 30 Running
15 14 88 Aric Almirola AdvoCare Chevy 200 29 Running
16 20 09 Kenny Wallace Thank You Fans! Toyota 200 28 Running
17 22 62 Michael Annett Pilot/Flying J Toyota 200 27 Running
18 27 81 Blake Koch # Daystar.com Chevy 200 26 Running
19 4 20 Joey Logano(i) GameStop Toyota 200 0 Running
20 23 19 Mike Bliss SpiritHalloween.com Chevy 199 24 Running
21 32 15 Timmy Hill # Poynt Ford 199 24 Running
22 36 01 Mike Wallace I Hate Steven Singer Chevy 199 22 Running
23 31 50 T J Bell(i) Liberty Tire Chevy 198 0 Running
24 41 28 Derrike Cope MAXelence Chevy 198 20 Running
25 39 89 Morgan Shepherd Victory In Jesus Racing Chevy 197 19 Running
26 33 39 Joey Gase Go Green Racing Ford 197 18 Running
27 37 52 Kevin Lepage Creative Recycling Chevy 193 17 Running
28 18 38 Kasey Kahne(i) Great Clips Chevy 181 0 Accident
29 24 51 Jeremy Clements Carolina Collision Chevy 171 15 Running
30 35 23 Robert Richardson Jr. North Texas Pipe Chevy 166 14 Running
31 34 14 Eric McClure Hefty BlackOut/Reynolds Chevy 157 13 Running
32 15 82 Reed Sorenson Think Pink Dodge 144 12 Running
33 38 40 Charles Lewandoski # Precisionwerx.com Chevy 133 11 Engine
34 16 99 Ryan Truex # Pastrana Waltrip Racing Toyota 126 PE Accident
35 42 70 Angela Cope Millennium Spa Salon Chevy 125 9 Vibration
36 40 87 Kevin Conway Extenze Toyota 76 8 Engine
37 28 97 Joe Nemechek AM/FM Energy Chevy 25 7 Start and Park
38 25 04 Tim Andrews Go Green Racing Ford 22 6 Start and Park
39 26 03 Scott Riggs North Texas Pipe Chevy 18 5 Start and Park
40 30 41 Johnny Chapman Rick Ware Racing Chevy 12 4 Start and Park
41 21 47 Scott Speed Curtis Key Plumbing Chevy 6 3 Start and Park
42 29 42 Erik Darnell(i) Curtis Key Plumbing Chevy 4 0 Start and Park
43 43 44 Jeff Green SpiritHalloween.com Chevy 3 1 Start and Park

Reed Sorenson will probably be the next to be eliminated.  The guy was third before getting kicked to the curb.  MacDonald Motorsports, as I predicted, is not up to par with the other four drivers in the hunt.  Shame on Penske Racing for not having Brad Keselowski step aside and being the savoir for Reed Sorenson.  Shame on Joe Gibbs for not having Joey Logano or Kyle Busch not step aside.  Gibbs and Penske are the only Sprint Cup/Nationwide Teams without a dog in this fight.  KHI has Sadler, Roush has Stenhouse, Hendrick has Almirola so no one really expected any of them to help Sorenson.  But both Penske and Gibbs have perfectly great teams with a Sprint Cup driver in it.  Shame.

Stenhouse has now gone two straight weeks of allowing Elliott Sadler to chip away at his now small lead.  Here's how the battle is shaping up: 

Pos Num Driver Points Ldr Wins
1 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 1100 0 2
2 2 Elliott Sadler 1085 -15 0
3 88 Aric Almirola 1013 -87 0
4 31 Justin Allgaier 1009 -91 1
5 82 Reed Sorenson 1006 -94 1
6 38 Jason Leffler * 949 -151 0
7 09 Kenny Wallace * 894 -206 0
8 11 Brian Scott * 877 -223 0
9 66 Steve Wallace * 870 -230 0
10 62 Michael Annett * 859 -241 0
11 16 Trevor Bayne * 774 -326 0
12 19 Mike Bliss * 766 -334 0

The incredibly popular, in my mind at least, Nationwide Chase Senario shapes up like this:

Reg Pos Chase Pos Numb Driver Chase Points Chase Behind Reg Behind
1 1 6 Ricky Stenhouse 2272 0 0
2 2 2 Elliott Sadler 2259 -13 -15
3 3 88 Aric Almirola 2243 -29 -87
4 4 31 Justin Allgaier 2240 -32 -91
8 5 11 Brian Scott * 2219 -53 -223
10 6 62 Michael Annett * 2210 -62 -241
6 7 38 Jason Leffler * 2209 -63 -151
11 8 16 Trevor Bayne * 2206 -66 -326
12 9 19 Mike Bliss * 2197 -75 -334
9 10 66 Steve Wallace * 2194 -78 -230
5 11 32 Reed Sorenson 2184 -88 -94
7 12 09 Kenny Wallace * 2180 -92 -206
*-Eliminated in Regular Points System

Notice how in our current points system we only have 5 drivers still in the hunt, but with a Chase, all 12 would still be in it and four drivers could leave Texas the Points Leader.

We now will  take a break for two weeks while everyone gets ready for a three race slugfest for the 2011 Nationwide Series Championship.  Enjoy!

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