Mar. 3, 2012; Avondale, AZ, USA; NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Danica Patrick prior to the Bashas Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Not much has been said so far leading into the Las Vegas race, but it will be the first NASCAR event held at the Speedway since the death of Dan Wheldon.
As much as some would like to believe that NASCAR and IndyCar are separate, you can't deny that some will head to the track this week with a black cloud over their hearts. Most notably - Danica Patrick and Sam Hornish. It should also be noted that IndyCar will not return to Las Vegas this year, and may not return for quite some time.
Watching Patrick and Hornish this week will be important. Both will try for the win in Wheldon's memory. There will be no shortage of coverage of Danica Patrick this week, and I would expect a Dan Wheldon tie-in as well.
The hype machine is in full force for Danica, and she has yet to prove that it is deserved.
When a crash ended her day at Daytona, I was very upset by the announcing. I haven't seen such blatant favoritism since the last time I watched a WWE event. This is a sport. The announcers should act in kind. Please stop alienating those of us not on the Patrick bandwagon and start calling it down the middle.
She did not do anything special last week, nor did she do anything wrong. It was a racing accident. Last week Patrick ran a very mediocre race but Las Vegas could be just the place to finally show why she has a full time ride with one of the best teams in Nationwide.
Entry List and More after the JUMP!
|1||01||Mike Wallace||G&K Services||12 Chevy||JD Motorsports|
|2||2||Elliott Sadler||ONE MAIN FINANCIAL||12 Chevy||Richard Childress|
|3||3||Austin Dillon||AMERICAN ETHANOL||12 Chevy||Richard Childress|
|4||4||Danny Efland||Danny Efland Racing||12 Chevy||JD Motorsports|
|5||6||Ricky Stenhouse Jr||Roush Fenway Racing||12 Ford||Roush Fenway|
|6||7||Danica Patrick||GoDaddy.com||12 Chevy||JR Motorsports|
|7||08||Tim Andrews||TBA||12 Ford||Randy Hill|
|8||09||Kenny Wallace||TBA||12 Toyota||RAB Racing|
|9||10||Jeff Green (S)||TBD||12 Toyota||TriStar Motorsports|
|10||11||Brian Scott||Dollar General||11 Toyota||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|11||12||Sam Hornish Jr||Alliance Truck Parts||12 Dodge||Penske Racing South|
|12||13||Jennifer Jo Cobb(i)||Glen Leiner||11 Dodge||Jennifer Jo Cobb|
|13||14||Eric McClure||Hefty Black Out / Reynolds Wrap||12 Toyota||TriStar Motorsports|
|14||18||Mark Martin(i)||Interstate||11 Toyota||Joe Gibbs Racing|
|15||19||Tayler Malsam||G-Oil||12 Toyota||TriStar Motorsports|
|16||22||Brad Keselowski(i) [PC1]||Discount Tire||12 Dodge||Penske Racing South|
|17||23||Robert Richardson Jr||NTX Pipe-Riviera Hotel||12 Chevy||R3 Motorsports|
|18||24||Benny Gordon||Revita Anti-Aging , VSI,||12 Toyota||SC2 Motorsports|
|19||27||TBA||GCMI||12 Ford||Steve Meehan|
|20||28||J J Yeley(i)||TBA||12 Chevy||Jay Robinson|
|21||30||James Buescher(i)||TBA||12 Chevy||Turner Motorsports|
|22||31||Justin Allgaier||Brandt||12 Chevy||Turner Motorsports|
|23||33||Brendan Gaughan(i)||SOUTH POINT CASINO||12 Chevy||Richard Childress|
|24||38||Kasey Kahne(i)||Great Clips||12 Chevy||Turner Motorsports|
|25||39||Joey Gase||Go Green Racing||12 Ford||Go Green Racing|
|26||40||Erik Darnell||TBA||12 Chevy||The Motorsports Group|
|27||41||Blake Koch||Poynt.com||12 Ford||Rick Ware Racing|
|28||42||Josh Wise(i) (S)||TBA||12 Chevy||The Motorsports Group|
|29||43||Michael Annett||Pilot/Flying J||12 Ford||Richard Petty|
|30||44||Mike Bliss||TBA||12 Toyota||TriStar Motorsports|
|31||46||Chase Miller (S)||TBA||12 Chevy||The Motorsports Group|
|32||47||Scott Speed(i) (S)||TBA||12 Chevy||The Motorsports Group|
|33||50||T J Bell||Turbine Powered Technology||12 Chevy||MAKE Motorsports|
|34||51||Jeremy Clements||Clements Automotive||10 Chevy||Jeremy Clements|
|35||52||Tim Schendel||All Sports Tailgating||12 Chevy||Jimmy Means|
|36||54||Kyle Busch(i) [PC2]||Monster Energy||12 Toyota||Kyle Busch|
|37||60||Trevor Bayne||Roush Fenway Racing||12 Ford||Roush Fenway|
|38||70||Johanna Long||Foretravel||12 Chevy||ML Motorsports|
|39||74||Mike Harmon||American Heros||12 Chevy||Mike Harmon|
|40||81||Jason Bowles||American Majority||12 Dodge||MacDonald Motorsports|
|41||87||Joe Nemechek||AM/FM Energy||12 Toyota||NEMCO|
|42||88||Cole Whitt||TaxSlayer.com||12 Chevy||JR Motorsports|
|43||89||Morgan Shepherd||Victory in Jesus Racing||11 Chevy||Faith Motorsports|
|(S) Known Start and Park|
|(i) Not Running For Title|
|(PC) Past Champion|
43 cars are entered, so I will not have to say "So and So must qualify on time" this week:
- #2- Elliott Sadler, fresh of his first win in the Nationwide Series in over a decade, will not be running in the Sprint Cup series for Michael Waltrip due to RCR's heavy Chevy ties.
- #15- The team is not entered this week, meaning that the #41 team is by itself this week.
- #18- Mark Martin will make his first start for Joe Gibbs Racing this week. Martin, who joined Michael Waltrip Racing this season, Will be a favorite to win this weekend. He is alone but for Brian Scott, as the #20 team is not entered this week.
- #33- Brendan Gaughan returns to the Nationwide Series this week driving for Richard Childress Racing. He is running double duty and double paint schemes. Both cars will be the South Point black and Gold #33 Chevy.
- #40- Looks like Erik Darnell will be the full time driver this week. Josh Wise moves to the #42 team to start and park this week.
- #81- It may be a Dodge front end, but it's riding on a Toyota frame with a TRD Engine inside. Jason Bowles will make the switch to Toyota very soon, but the team has yet to get the body switched over to a Camry. Dodge is really hurting now. Penske will move on to Ford in 2013, and now they are losing other teams as well. This may be the end of Dodge in Nascar.
Well, are you ready? Tune into ESPN 2, Live this Saturday at 5pm eastern for the Running of the Sam's Town 300 from Las Vegas, NV. Don't forget to come back for the Open Race thread. Enjoy!