Friday night the NASCAR Nationwide series will visit the Kentucky Speedway for the 14th time in series history. Through the years Kentucky Speedway has etched its mark on NNS history. Since debuting on the NNS schedule back in 2001 Kentucky has produced 10 different winners in 13 races. Kentucky Speedway was the site of racing blue-chipper Joey Logano’s first career NNS victory back in 2008 at the age of 18. Logano would go on to win the next two Kentucky races to follow in 09, 10.
Friday night RCR standout and the grandson of team owner Richard Childress, Austin Dillon will attempt to match Logano’s record of three consecutive NNS victories at Kentucky Speedway. Kentucky could be a good place for Dillon to kick his 2013 campaign into high gear. Albeit a great qualifier in 2013, winning four poles. Dillon has struggled to turn those solid qualifying runs into victories. Dillon’s stock appears to be rising as of late he finished 2nd at Iowa a few weeks back and salvaged a 10th place finish last weekend at Road America. In spite of his slow start to the season Dillon currently sits 4th in the driver standings 45 markers behind point leader Regan Smith.
Kyle Busch has returned home to Joe Gibbs Racing’s Nationwide program with a vengeance in 2013. Immediately wreaking havoc on the competition, through 13 races of the 2013 season, Kyle Busch and JGR are poised to rewrite their own Nationwide Series history they set back in 2010. The Busch/Gibbs combination accounted for 13 victories on the tour in 2010, and have already rolled off 6 victories this season. The team’s dominant performance in 2013 once again has perturbed the series regulars who are tired of getting buschwacked by the rowdy one. Busch’s dominance could have a profound impact on how NASCAR mandates the participation of cup regulars in the two lower-tier series for the rest of this season and moving forward. Busch is a former Kentucky winner taking the checkered flag back in 2004. Look out NNS regulars he will be in the field on Friday night.
NNS points leader Regan Smith is hoping to bounce back from a season worst 32nd place finish last weekend at Road America. If history is any indicator Regan may not be looking forward to seeing the Kentucky Speedway. Smith has finished no better than 16th at the track in 5 career NNS starts. Currently Trailing Smith in the points are polished driver’s like Sam Hornish Jr. who now sit’s 30 markers back after falling to 3rd in the standings after road America. Despite battling his way through the field to finish 5th at Road America the team suffered a crippling blow at Michigan by finishing 32nd with engine failure. Joe Gibbs racing’s newest acquisitions Elliott Sadler and Brian Vickers both Odds on favorites to win the NNS championship before the start of the season have faltered tremendously sitting 48,& 74 points back of the top sport respectively. Kentucky could be Justin Allgaier’s prime opportunity to capitalize on Smith’s weaker on track numbers at Kentucky to advance atop the standings. Allgaier has hovered around the top 5 in points all season long, and now sit’s 2nd in the standings for the 3rd time this season. Allagaier has finished no worst that 19th in 5 career NNS starts.
Young guns Kyle Larson, Parker Kligerman, and Alex Bowman have all enjoyed strong early season campaigns, and would no doubt like to add their first career NNS victories to their already impressive resumes. Kentucky maybe the place they get it done if history can replicate itself. Kentucky Speedway is widely known for producing two major upsets in NNS history. Both David Gilliland (06) and Stephen Leicht (07) scored their first and only (to date) career wins at Kentucky. Gilliland’s win was so unexpected. Former NNS driver and television analyst Hermie Sadler called it “The biggest upset in Nationwide (Busch Series) history.
Race Pick- Kyle Busch continues to exasperate the NNS regulars by scoring his 7th win of the 2013 season.
Photo courtesy of autoweek.com
“Feed The Children 300” airs tonight on ESPN2 @ 7:30PM/ EST