By Amanda Vincent, NASCAR reporter
- Steve Turner looks forward Texas race
- In March, Martin handed the team their first victory
- Turner's drivers hope to give him a home event win
Turner Motorsports embarks on Nationwide event in home state
With his still somewhat new NASCAR Nationwide Series program thriving, Turner Motorsports owner and Texan (Hallettsville) native Steve Turner embarks on a Nationwide event in his home state -- Friday night's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.
We all want to step up and run well at Mr. Turner's home track.
"With Turner Motorsports being based out of nearby Houston, we all want to step up and run well at Mr. Turner's home track," Turner Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier said.
"We've had a strong start to the 2011 season and hope to continue our success," Allgaier said.
All three of Turner's full-time Nationwide drivers -- Jason Leffler, Allgaier and Reed Sorenson -- head into their car owner's home state near the top of the championship driver points standings, with Leffler holding down the second spot, Allgaier in third and Sorenson in fifth.
None of the Nationwide Series regulars on the Turner Motorsports roster have a series win at TMS to their credit, but all three have had positive showings there. Of the three, Allgaier has the least amount of Texas racing experience with five starts, but in those five starts he's never finished outside the top-20.
Sorenson has just a little more experience in Nationwide competition at Texas Motor Speedway with seven races there under his belt, and he's finished in the top-five in almost half of those races. He also has four top-10s in series competition at the track.
Leffler has, by far, the most experience making laps in a Nationwide series car at Texas. In his 13 starts at the track, he's collected a top-five and five top-10 finishes. He also claimed his first series career pole there in 2000.
"Texas has been an up and down track for me in the past, but my last few runs there have been pretty good," Leffler said.
While none of the series full-timers for Turner Motorsports have visited the TMS victory lane following a Nationwide Series event at the track, the organization will have one driver behind the wheel of one of its cars this weekend who is familiar with the Texas victory lane: Kasey Kahne.
"I'm really looking forward to working with everyone at Turner Motorsports again this weekend," Kahne said.
Kahne has 13 Nationwide Series starts at TMS, including a win in 2006. He also has a top-five and a couple of Nationwide top-10s there.
However, Mark Martin has already taken away the opportunity to get Turner his first Nationwide Series win. He did that back in March by winning the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kahne, like Martin, is also a Sprint Cup regular. But three drivers -- Allgaier, Leffler and Sorenson -- have the perfect opportunity this weekend to become the first Turner Motorsports full-season driver to drive the team car to victory lane in the Nationwide series.
If either of the trio land the win, they will also score their first victory in the Nationwide series but the will do so in their team owner's home state of Texas.
Friday night's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 Nationwide Series race is scheduled to take the green flag at approximately 8:30 p.m. ET. Live television coverage is scheduled for an 8 p.m. ET start on ESPN2.