After a two-week Easter break, NASCAR returns to action on a Friday night for the Nationwide Series O'Reily Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Elliott Sadler has found new life in the Nationwide Series this year after just missing out on the championship in 2011. He's won two races to start the year and has embraced new crew chief Luke Lambert's win-or-go-home attitude.
That combination could leave the Nationwide regulars helpless to stop him from winning his first Series championship.
That list will not include polesitter Paul Menard, a Cup regular, who has returned to Nationwide competition on a mission to return to victory lane for the first time since his Brickyard 400 breakthrough last summer.
Menard's No. 33 Chevrolet ran a lap in 29.717 seconds at 181.714 mph to outpace Danny Hamlin for the coveted pole position.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Austin Dillon and Elliott Sadler) complete the starting top 5.
Conspicuous by his absence is Trevor Bayne, who was pulled from the no. 60 after failing to secure sponsorship and will miss tonight's race. This is disappointing for the young Roush-Fenway driver who entered this weekend sitting fourth in points, just 34 markers behind Sadler.
The reality is that sponsors value a partial-season of support at the Sprint Cup level in 2012 more than a full-schedule in the Nationwide Series. This has to be alarming for NASCAR, who appears helpless to support their full-time Nationwide Series superstars.
Changes to the Nationwide business model has to be discussed before the sport loses the opportunity to manufacture new stars.
But that will come later. Tonight should produce good racing and the weather that once threatened tonight's race appears to have broken up.
Menard, Hamlin, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne, Joey Logano, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski are the Sprint Cup regulars competing in tonight's race.
Live television coverage will start on ESPN at 8 p.m. EST and will feature the voices of Allen Bestwick, Andy Petree and Dale Jarrett. For those who are away from the television or prefer the radio broadcasts, goprn.com will stream the race live on any supported computer or mobile device.
A complete starting lineup can be found after the jump. See you in the comments section!
|1||33||Paul Menard(i)||Menards/Rheem Chevrolet||29.717||181.714||0.000||0.000|
|2||18||Denny Hamlin(i)||SportClips Toyota||29.886||180.687||0.169||0.169|
|3||6||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Pure Michigan Ford||29.934||180.397||0.217||0.048|
|4||3||Austin Dillon #||American Ethanol Chevrolet||29.974||180.156||0.257||0.040|
|5||2||Elliott Sadler||OneMain Financial Chevrolet||29.979||180.126||0.262||0.005|
|6||54||Kurt Busch(i)||Monster Energy Toyota||30.085||179.491||0.368||0.106|
|7||88||Cole Whitt #||TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet||30.103||179.384||0.386||0.018|
|8||38||Kasey Kahne(i)||Great Clips Chevrolet||30.224||178.666||0.507||0.121|
|9||30||Steve Arpin||Mike's On The Rocks Chevrolet||30.232||178.619||0.515||0.008|
|10||44||Mike Bliss||TriStar Motorsports Toyota||30.264||178.430||0.547||0.032|
|11||11||Brian Scott||Dollar General Toyota||30.299||178.224||0.582||0.035|
|12||20||Joey Logano(i)||GameStop/Batman 2 DC Super Heroes Toyota||30.357||177.883||0.640||0.058|
|13||22||Brad Keselowski(i)||Discount Tire Dodge||30.382||177.737||0.665||0.025|
|14||12||Sam Hornish Jr.||Wurth Dodge||30.383||177.731||0.666||0.001|
|15||70||Johanna Long #||Foretravel Chevrolet||30.383||177.731||0.666||0.000|
|16||31||Justin Allgaier||Brandt Chevrolet||30.392||177.678||0.675||0.009|
|17||7||Danica Patrick||GoDaddy.com Chevrolet||30.394||177.667||0.677||0.002|
|18||43||Michael Annett||Pilot/Flying J Ford||30.530||176.875||0.813||0.136|
|19||09||Ryan Truex||Grime Boss Toyota||30.587||176.546||0.870||0.057|
|20||5||Dale Earnhardt Jr.(i)||Degree Chevrolet||30.675||176.039||0.958||0.088|
|21||08||Kyle Fowler||Randy Hill Racing Ford||30.757||175.570||1.040||0.082|
|22||10||Jeff Green||TriStar Motorsports Toyota||30.826||175.177||1.109||0.069|
|23||81||Jason Bowles #||American Majority Toyota||30.839||175.103||1.122||0.013|
|24||01||Mike Wallace||G&K Services Chevrolet||30.857||175.001||1.140||0.018|
|25||4||Danny Efland||Danny Efland Racing Chevrolet||30.903||174.740||1.186||0.046|
|26||41||Timmy Hill||Poynt.com Ford||30.939||174.537||1.222||0.036|
|27||40||Erik Darnell||TheMotorsportsGroup.com Chevrolet||30.954||174.452||1.237||0.015|
|28||19||Tayler Malsam(i)||G-Oil Toyota||30.969||174.368||1.252||0.015|
|29||15||Blake Koch||Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet||30.973||174.345||1.256||0.004|
|30||27||David Ragan(i)||Mercury Ford||30.993||174.233||1.276||0.020|
|31||39||Kelly Bires||Fenton Motors Ford||31.000||174.194||1.283||0.007|
|32||42||Josh Wise(i)||Key Motorsports Chevrolet||31.011||174.132||1.294||0.011|
|33||87||Joe Nemechek||SWM International Toyota||31.019||174.087||1.302||0.008|
|34||75||Scott Riggs(i)||RWR Chevrolet||31.019||174.087||1.302||0.000|
|35||47||Scott Speed(i)||Key Motorsports Chevrolet||31.026||174.048||1.309||0.007|
|36||46||Chase Miller||Key Motorsports Chevrolet||31.035||173.997||1.318||0.009|
|37||51||Jeremy Clements||US Petroleum Consulting Chevrolet||31.088||173.700||1.371||0.053|
|38||52||Tim Schendel||Metro Ministries Chevrolet||31.317||172.430||1.600||0.229|
|39||23||Robert Richardson Jr.||Tia Rosa/Embassy Suites Chevrolet||31.337||172.320||1.620||0.020|
|40||50||TJ Bell||Gulf Coast Software Chevrolet||31.473||171.576||1.756||0.136|
|41||24||Benny Gordon #||Silestone/Dillon Manufacturing Chevrolet||31.488||171.494||1.771||0.015|
|42||14||Eric McClure||Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Toyota||31.599||170.891||1.882||0.111|
|43||74||Kevin Lepage||Koma Unwind Chevrolet||31.664||170.541||1.947||0.065|