Nationwide Championship Battle Continues in Chicagoland: The Dollar General 300 Preview

Nationwide Championship contender, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No. 6 Fastenal Ford, stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 9 in Richmond, Va. Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR via nascar-assets.americaneagle.com

Chicagoland.  The three dog fight continues here.  Who will come out of Chicagoland with the points lead and who will move another step closer to their first Nationwide Championship?  Will it be the veteran, Elliott Sadler? 

Sadler was supposed to be the next Sprint Cup Champion.  He joined a still powerful Wood Brothers in 1999.  Sadler would finish his first two seasons with just one top ten each year.  Finally in 2001, Sadler won his first Sprint Cup Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The rest of that season was pretty mediocre.  2002 saw Sadler run in the top ten seven times, but without a win.  In 2003, Sadler joined Yates Racing and had his best year to date, with two top fives, and nine top tens.   But in 2004, Elliott would finally start showing his potential.  Sadler won twice in the M&Ms Ford.  He would go on to have eight top fives, and fourteen top tens, as well as a berth in the very first Chase for the Sprint Cup.  But two mediocre years later and Sadler would be fired from Yates in favor of another young driver David Gilliland.  Sadler would land instantly with Ray Evernham thanks to the Jeremy Mayfield problems.  Sadler would run the next four years under constant dissappointment before the team was discontinued.  It was Kevin Harvick who saw the potential that was still there for Elliott, as Kevin Harvick Inc. expanded to two teams.  Now Sadler is in control and ready to finally prove he's more then just an also ran.

Or will it be Ricky Stenhouse?  The 2010 Rookie of the Year and future Sprint Cup star, Ricky Stenhouse had a season to forget last year, wrecking out and DNF'ing his way to a mid-season sit down.  Ricky got the message and was on fire to end the year.  This year, just his second full time year, Stenhouse came out strong, and has won two races, and without the massive Sprint Cup Stars running every week, would probably have even more.

Or will it be Reed Sorenson?  Sorenson was a Chip Ganassi developmental driver before making the leap to Cup.  Sorenson won two Nationwide Races in his first full Nationwide season.  But many believe he was moved up to quickly.  Sorenson had three very disappointing years with Chip before landing as Elliott Sadler's teammate with Richard Petty Motorsports.  When the team cut down, Sorenson was without a ride.  After a 2010 that saw Sorenson part time in both the Cup Series and the Nationwide Series, Turner Motorsports finally decided to go all in with Reed, and make him a top contender for the Nationwide Championship.

Entry List and More after the Jump!

 

Ent. Car # Driver Sponsor Manu. Owner
1 01 Mike Wallace G&K Services 11 Chevy Lori Davis
2 2 Elliott Sadler OneMain Financial 11 Chevy Delana Harvick
3 03 Scott Riggs * N TX Pipe 11 Chevy Robert Richardson Sr
4 04 Danny O'Quinn Jr * Go Green Racing 11 Ford Archie St Hilaire
5 6 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Racing 11 Ford Jack Roush
6 7 Jamie McMurray(i) Air Hogs 11 Chevy Kelley Earnhardt
7 09 Kenny Wallace Family Farmers 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 13 Jennifer Jo Cobb * hipchixfundraisers.com 11 Dodge Jennifer Jo Cobb
11 14 Eric McClure Hefty BlackOut/Reynolds 11 Chevy Mark Smith
12 15 Timmy Hill Lilly Trucking-Point 11 Ford Bob Germain
13 16 Trevor Bayne * Roush Fenway Racing 11 Ford Jack Roush
14 18 Joey Logano(i) SportClips 11 Toyota Joe Gibbs
15 19 Mike Bliss US Express Trucking 11 Chevy Mark Smith
16 20 Ryan Truex * TBD 11 Toyota Joe Gibbs
17 22 Brad Keselowski(i) Discount Tire 11 Dodge Roger Penske
18 23 Robert Richardson Jr N TX Pipe 11 Chevy Robert Richardson Sr
19 27 J J Yeley(i) * Go Canada Racing 11 Ford Steve Meehan
20 28 Derrike Cope Maxelence 11 Chevy Jay Robinson
21 30 Kasey Kahne(i) Rexall 11 Chevy Harry Scott Jr
22 31 Justin Allgaier Brandt 11 Chevy Steve Turner
23 32 Reed Sorenson Dollar General 11 Chevy Sandra Turner
24 33 Paul Menard(i) Rheem/Menards 11 Chevy Delana Harvick
25 38 Jason Leffler Great Clips 11 Chevy Steve Turner
26 39 Joey Gase Go Green Racing 11 Ford Jack Roush
27 40 Josh Wise TBA 11 Chevy Curtis Key Sr
28 41 Johnny Chapman * Rick Ware Racing 11 Chevy Rick Ware
29 42 Tim Andrews * Key Motorsports 11 Chevy Curtis Key Sr
30 44 Angela Cope * Horizon Sports Management 11 Chevy Mark Smith
31 46 Chase Miller * Key Motorsports 11 Chevy Curtis Key Sr
32 47 Brian Keselowski(i) * TBA 11 Chevy Curtis Key Sr
33 48 Dennis Setzer * TBA 11 Chevy Jay Robinson
34 49 Mark Green * Acredale Vending 11 Chevy Jay Robinson
35 50 T J Bell(i) * Liberty Tire Recyclers 11 Chevy Mark Beaver
36 51 Jeremy Clements Clements Racing Engines 10 Chevy Johnny Davis
37 52 Blake Koch Daystar 11 Chevy Jimmy Means
38 60 Carl Edwards(i) Fastenal 11 Ford Jack Roush
39 62 Michael Annett Pilot-Flying J 11 Toyota Rusty Wallace
40 66 Steve Wallace 5 Hour Energy 11 Toyota Rusty Wallace
41 70 David Stremme(i) Foretravel 11 Chevy Mary Louise Miller
42 71 Matthew Carter * Lilly Trucking of VA 11 Ford Rick Ware
43 74 Mike Harmon * MHR 11 Chevy Mike Harmon
44 75 Carl Long * Race Cash 11 Ford Rick Ware
45 81 Scott Wimmer K Love 11 Dodge Pat MacDonald
46 87 Kevin Conway Extenze 11 Toyota Andrea Nemechek
47 88 Aric Almirola Suave MEN 11 Chevy Dale Earnhardt Jr
48 89 Morgan Shepherd Victory in Jesus 11 Chevy Morgan Shepherd

 

48 cars are entered this week. Let's take a look at who to watch this week:

  • #2-Elliott Sadler.  It will be important for Sadler to leave Chicagoland with a top ten.
  • #6-Ricky Stenhouse may be heading into conservative mode.  You often see points leaders trying more for second place then going all out for wins.  Stenhouse needs to keep the foot to the floor to win this Championship.
  • #12-Sam Hornish returns this week and the plans for next year are to run him full time if sponsorship can be found.  Hornish has done pretty well this year in a limited schedule.
  • #18-Joey Logano will step into the Owner Points leading Toyota team this week. 
  • #20-Ryan Truex has been running incredibly well for Joe Gibbs Racing.  Truex could just get his first win this weekend.  Keep an eye on him.
  • #32-Reed Sorenson needs some help.  He is falling behind in the hunt for the Championship.
  • #33-Paul Menard will make another start for KHI.  We know that Austin Dillon will join KHI next year as RCR merges with Kevin Harvick's team.  We will have RCR drivers in the #33 again next year, Championship contender Elliott Sadler will return next year in the #2 car, and 2012 Rookie Of The Year contender Austin Dillon will bring the #3 back to full time contention in another series.  KHI/RCR will field three teams, and two Championship contenders next year.  And we get to see the #3 in action full time in the Nationwide and the Camping World series with Ty Dillon replacing his brother.
  • #44-Angela Cope will attempt to make another start.  It's been a pretty mediocre run for the Cope Sisters so far.
  • #81-Scott Wimmer will make a start for MacDonald Motorsports this week.

Join us Saturday afternoon for the live running of the Dollar General 300 from Chicagoland!  And tune in to ESPN2 at 3pm eastern for the live broadcast. Enjoy!

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