It's that special time of year again; the Ford Championship weekend is here! And an actual Ford will will the 2011 Nationwide Championship this year! Ford driver Ricky Stenhouse just needs to finish 37th or better to win his first Nationwide Championship.
That means that Stenhouse just needs to outlast the litany of Start and Park drivers that consistantly disrespect fans of Nascar week in and week out. Elliott Sadler had a great run, and a great year, but even without his wreck last week, I think Stenhouse would still had won the Championship as he seems unstoppable this year.
Ricky has eight straight top ten finishes in the past eight races and only 4 out of 33 races have seen Stenhouse outside the top 15. He has two wins, 15 top fives, 25 top tens, and only two DNFs. Sadler by comparision has zero wins, 12 top 5s, and 23 top tens, with just one DNF. It's been a great year and a great championship battle.
Entry List and More after the JUMP!
|1||01||Mike Wallace||I Hate Steven Singer||11 Chevy||Lori Davis|
|2||2||Elliott Sadler||OneMain Financial||11 Chevy||Delana Harvick|
|3||03||Scott Riggs * (S)||NTX Pipe||11 Chevy||Robert Richardson Sr|
|4||04||Tim Andrews * (S)||Go Green Racing||11 Ford||Archie St Hilaire|
|5||6||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||Blackwell Angus||11 Ford||Jack Roush|
|6||7||Danica Patrick||GoDaddy.com||11 Chevy||Kelley Earnhardt|
|7||09||Kenny Wallace||Federated Auto Parts||11 Toyota||Robby Benton|
|8||11||Brian Scott||Shore Lodge||11 Toyota||J D Gibbs|
|9||12||Sam Hornish Jr *||Alliance Truck Parts||11 Dodge||Roger Penske|
|10||14||Eric McClure||Hefty Black Out / Reynolds||11 Chevy||Mark Smith|
|11||15||Timmy Hill||Poynt/Lilly Trucking||11 Ford||Bob Germain|
|12||16||Trevor Bayne *||Roush Fenway Racing||11 Ford||Jack Roush|
|13||18||Denny Hamlin(i)||Z-Line Designs||11 Toyota||Joe Gibbs|
|14||19||Mike Bliss||TBA||11 Chevy||Mark Smith|
|15||20||Joey Logano(i) *||GameStop||11 Toyota||Joe Gibbs|
|16||22||Brad Keselowski(i)||Discount Tire||11 Dodge||Roger Penske|
|17||23||Robert Richardson Jr||N TX Pipe||11 Chevy||Robert Richardson Sr|
|18||28||Derrike Cope||Maxelence||11 Dodge||Jay Robinson|
|19||30||Nelson Piquet Jr(i)||TBA||11 Chevy||Harry Scott Jr|
|20||31||Justin Allgaier||Brandt||11 Chevy||Steve Turner|
|21||32||James Buescher(i)||Dollar General||11 Chevy||Sandra Turner|
|22||33||Clint Bowyer(i)||Rheem Heating||11 Chevy||Delana Harvick|
|23||38||Jason Leffler||Great Clips||11 Chevy||Steve Turner|
|24||39||Fain Skinner||Carport Empire||11 Ford||Jack Roush|
|25||40||Josh Wise||Curtis Key Plumbing||11 Chevy||Curtis Key Sr|
|26||41||Stanton Barrett * (S)||Barcode Media-MyBrokenPalace.com||11 Chevy||Rick Ware|
|27||42||Erik Darnell(i) * (S)||Curtis Key Plumbing||11 Chevy||Curtis Key Sr|
|28||44||Jeff Green * (PC) (S)||TBA||11 Chevy||Mark Smith|
|29||46||Chase Miller * (S)||Curtis Key Plumbing||11 Chevy||Curtis Key Sr|
|30||47||Scott Speed * (S)||Curtis Key Plumbing||11 Chevy||Curtis Key Sr|
|31||49||Mark Green * (S)||Acredale Vending||11 Chevy||Jay Robinson|
|32||50||T J Bell(i) *||Liberty Tire Recyclers||11 Chevy||Mark Beaver|
|33||51||Jeremy Clements||Clements Racing Engines||10 Chevy||Johnny Davis|
|34||52||Kevin Lepage||TBD||11 Chevy||Jimmy Means|
|35||60||Carl Edwards(i)||Fastenal||11 Ford||Jack Roush|
|36||62||Michael Annett||Pilot-Flying J||11 Toyota||Rusty Wallace|
|37||66||Steve Wallace||5 Hour Energy||11 Toyota||Rusty Wallace|
|38||67||Andrew Ranger *||Go Canada Racing||11 Ford||Steve Meehan|
|39||70||David Stremme(i)||Foretravel||11 Chevy||Mary Louise Miller|
|40||71||Matthew Carter * (S)||Rick Ware Racing||11 Chevy||Rick Ware|
|41||72||Jake Crum * (S)||Bandit Chippers||11 Toyota||James Carter|
|42||75||Johnny Chapman * (S)||Rick Ware Racing||11 Ford||Rick Ware|
|43||81||Blake Koch||DAYSTAR.com||11 Chevy||Pat MacDonald|
|44||82||Reed Sorenson *||Foametix/Bullet Liner||11 Dodge||Randy MacDonald|
|45||87||Kevin Conway||Extenze||11 Toyota||Andrea Nemechek|
|46||88||Aric Almirola||Grand Touring Vodka||11 Chevy||Dale Earnhardt Jr|
|47||89||Morgan Shepherd||Victory in Jesus Racing||11 Chevy||Morgan Shepherd|
|48||97||Joe Nemechek * (PC)||AM/FM Energy Pellet & Wood Stoves||11 Toyota||Andrea Nemechek|
||(S)- Known Start and Park||
||(i)- Not Running for Championship||
||* - Must Qualify on Time||
||(PC)- Past Champion|
48 teams have made the trip to Homestead-Miami, Florida for the final race of the 2011 Season. Five teams will go home before it even begins. A few notes this week:
- #2- Sadler should win the Comeback Racer of the Year if it existed. Sadler proved he is not washed up yet. He is a favorite for the 2012 Crown at this point.
- #6- Let's give a hand to the 2010 Nationwide Rookie of the Year Ricky Stenhouse on a great follow up year and a first Championship.
- #7- Danica Patrick will be back and so will the admiration of every sportscaster around. If Patrick can finish in the top 10 in points in her first full year in Nationwide it should be considered a success. A win would really shut every naysayer up - including me.
- #09- 2012 will probably be Kenny Wallace's last year in Nascar. It would be great to have him go out with a win.
- #12- Last weeks winner Sam Hornish has vaulted himself into the 2012 Championship conversation but can he follow-up his last week's win this week? Doubt it.
- #16- Trevor Bayne may not be back in 2012. He's looking to make a case for a full-time ride, or a full-time sponsor.
- #18- Denny Hamlin replaces Kyle Busch this week. Busch will be back next year with his own team, splitting time between KBM and Joe Gibbs Racing.
- #30- Nelson Piquet is working his way up the ladder. Piquet is looking for a full time ride, and Turner is looking for drivers.
- #82- Reed Sorenson, 2011 tough luck story, is looking for a good run, and a good 2012 ride. I don't think he'll find either and that's a damn shame.
Join us this Saturday for an Open Race Thread and when you do I want everyone who visits this site to send a friend a link or post on Facebook or send out a Tweet to try to get other race fans to join SBNation and the growing number of Nascar Ranting and Raving fans out there! Oh, and while you're doing that, don't forget to catch the live running of the Ford 300 on ESPN2 at 4 pm Eastern. Enjoy!