St. Louis II: Series round 32 preview

* Can Edwards Hold Off Keselowski's Charge * Brandon McReynolds Attempts To Make Series Debut * In The Loop: Sorenson Focusing On Gateway Edwards, Keselowski Showdown At Gateway International Raceway In one of the most dramatic finishes this...

* Can Edwards Hold Off Keselowski's Charge
* Brandon McReynolds Attempts To Make Series Debut
* In The Loop: Sorenson Focusing On Gateway

Edwards, Keselowski Showdown At Gateway International Raceway

In one of the most dramatic finishes this season Carl Edwards (No. 60 COPART Ford) and series stand-ings leader Brad Keselowski (No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge) battled it out in the final laps at Gateway Inter-national Raceway resulting in Edwards spinning Keselowski coming to the checkered flag. Tempers flared post-race and excitement loomed through the garage.

This weekend more great competition is expected at Gateway. Edwards is going for the season sweep and in the process trying to keep Keselowski from clinching the driver standings championship.

Edwards posted his third career win at Gateway earlier this season to surpass Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Reed Sorenson (No. 32 Dollar General Toyota) to lead the series in wins. Along with his three wins he has posted five top fives and six top 10s in seven starts.

Edwards is second in the standings, 450-points behind Keselowski. He has posted two wins, 16 top fives, 23 top 10s and two poles this season. He can keep Keselowski from clinching the series drivers' cham-pionship this weekend if he can hold the point difference between first and second under 586 points.

Edwards will have his work cut out for him. Keselowski is riding the momentum of his 11th career series win last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He has been atop of the standings for 24 consecutive weeks this season, and has posted five poles, five wins, 22 top fives and 25 top 10s in 31 starts.

In four starts at Gateway, Keselowski has posted one top five and two top 10s.

"To me this was a goal we (Brad and Roger) set together," Roger Penske, owner of Penske Racing said. "I think we are building real chemistry here within the team each week. When you're able to attract a good driver and a good crew chief you're able to attract a lot of other good people. If we win this championship it would be a big success."

Keselowski's teammate Justin Allgaier (No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge), a Riverton, Illinois native, also is benefiting from the Penske Racing success this season. Allgaier is fourth in the standings, the highest-ranked series regular driver. He has one win, seven top fives and 18 top 10s.

Brandon McReynolds To Attempt NASCAR Nationwide Series Debut

Calling NASCAR a family sport is an understatement. From the Frances, to the many famous families that competed in the sport like the Pettys, Earnhardts and Wallaces NASCAR has been a family sport. This weekend another family of NASCAR will get its chance to begin its next generation of lineage when Brandon McReynolds (No. 42 Team 42 Racing Dodge), son of two-time Daytona 500 winning crew chief and FOX Television Analyst Larry McReynolds, will attempt to qualify for the 5-hour Energy 250.

"For someone like myself, who has made my living and spent my entire life in the sport of NASCAR and other forms of racing, I can't put into words what it means to have my son competing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race this weekend at Gateway International Raceway," said McReynolds. "I am so thankful that people like Eddie Smith are able to recognize all of Brandon's talent, and I'm thrilled to see his first start this weekend."

Brandon McReynolds first got behind the wheel at age eight in a Bandolero at Charlotte Motor Speedway. From there, he worked his way through the ranks of the Allison Legacy Series and the United Auto Racing As-sociation Series (UARA) before running in the ARCA/REMAX Series for Eddie Sharp Racing in 2010.

"We are very excited to have Brandon at the wheel for this race and we plan on this being the beginning of a long relationship with him," said team owner Eddie Smith.

Sorenson: Gateway Or Bust

Reed Sorenson began the 2010 sea-son a man without a team. Any team. Any where. In any series.

Now he has two.

But this weekend, Sorenson will concentrate solely on his NASCAR Nationwide Series ride -- and the reason is clear. He is tremendous at Gateway International Raceway, and surely pines to take home the final NASCAR national series trophy from the track.

In six races at Gateway, Sorenson has two wins and five top-five finishes. His one hiccup: a 29th-place finish in 2008, and even that perform-ance was statistically strong. Sorenson got caught up in a late-race accident that ended his day, but not before he posted a Driver Rating of 98.0 and an Average Running Position of 14.6.

Otherwise, he has been brilliant. His other five Driver Ratings have all eclipsed the 100.0- point mark, and he has led laps in two of the six (both is wins). In the last two races, both runner-up finishes, Sorenson finished behind Kyle Busch (2009) and Carl Edwards (in July of this season).

Overall, here are Sorenson's stats at Gate-way: a Driver Rating of 120.1, an Average Run-ning Position of 6.5, a Pass Differential (passes minus times passed) of plus-33, a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 85.5% and 129 Fastest Laps Run.

And if the past is any indication, Sorenson won't miss his adopted NASCAR Sprint Cup Series No. 83 Toyota ride. He has struggled at Martinsville, to say the least. In eight races there, he has failed to crack the top 10 and has a Driver Rating of 62.6.

Sorenson also has momentum heading into this weekend. He has four top 10s in the last five races, and over that span, has an average finish of 12.4, a Driver Rating of 97.1, an Average Run-ning Position of 12.6, seven Fastest Laps Run and a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 81.9%.

Danica Patrick Tackles Her First Stand-Alone And Announces Part Of Her 2011 Schedule

A big week lies ahead for Danica Patrick (No. 7 Chevrolet) as the Roscoe, Illinois native will run her first NASCAR Nation-wide Series stand-alone event at home track Gateway International Raceway for the 5-Hour Energy 250. Gateway will be her third start of a six race stretch she will compete in to close out the season.

She has made nine starts in 2010 for JR Mo-torsports posting two top-25 finishes (24th at Chicago; 21st at Charlotte -- her best finish of the season).

Last week Patrick announced she will be mak-ing 13 starts in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2011 including the first four races of the sea-son at Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 13), Phoenix International Raceway (Feb. 26), Las Vegas Motor Speedway (March 5) and Bris-tol Motor Speedway (March 15). The remaining schedule will be unveiled at a later time.

"I know we're all anxious to get the whole schedule put in place, but I'm extremely excited to be able to confirm our participation in the first four races of the 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series season," Patrick said. "GoDaddy has been extremely good to me in both series. We'll have four extremely challenging and unique races to start our 2011 season, and I'm anxious to return to a lot of those tracks with at least a little bit of familiarity."

On Friday, Oct. 23, Patrick will drop the puck before the St. Louis Blues host the reigning NHL champions, the Chicago Blackhawks at 7 p.m. at the Scottrade Center. She will be available for media opportunities at the event.NASCAR Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash, Trevor Bayne And Rick Viers Visit St. Louis RamsOn Thursday, Oct. 21, NASCAR Nationwide Series director Joe Balash, driver Trevor Bayne and Bayne's crew chief Rick Viers, will visit the St. Louis Rams regularly-scheduled practice (12:30-2 p.m.) at the Russell Training Center in Earth City, Mo. All will be available for media opportunities at the event.

Balash is a long-time Rams fan and a former high school offensive lineman. He was set to play in college until an injury cut short his career, prompting his move to racing.

As a youngster growing up in Hobart, Ind., Balash latched on to former Los Angeles Rams great Roman Gabriel as his favorite player. He also fell for the unique b l u e - a n d - white ram logo on the teams' hel-met. Although he's been a staunch Colts fan since their move to Indianapolis, he still roots for the Rams.

Bayne also is a big NFL fan, particularly of the Pittsburgh Steelers. But he and Viers -- who as crew chief is basically the quarterback of the team -- are excited for the opportunity to visit the Rams and their facility.

Bayne has made 31 starts this season, posting five top fives and 10 top 10s.

Bayne recently joined Roush Fenway Racing and has made three of those 31 starts for Roush Fenway, posting a best finish of 11th at Auto Club Speedway.

NNS Etc.: Gateway Edition

* Sunoco Green E15 New Fuel For 2011

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced it will race with E15 fuel in its three national touring series in 2011. Sunoco Green E15 is a 15 percent ethanol blend using American-made ethanol from corn grown by American farmers.

"NASCAR is committed to being an environmental leader, and the sport has taken signifi-cant steps over the years toward conservation by introducing measurable, best-in-class initiatives in recycling, alternative energy, and carbon mitigation," said Brian France, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NASCAR.

"The transition to Sunoco Green E15 takes our long-term sustainability strategy to the next level. Sunoco Green E15 is good for racing, good for the environment and good for America. While fueling the same close, door-to-door racing that thrills our fans, American ethanol creates jobs in the United States, helps foster energy independence, and continues the greening of our sport."

Sunoco Green E15 will be blended at Sun-oco's fuel facility in Marcus Hook, Pa., which provides high-performance race fuel to NASCAR teams at no cost to them. The American-grown and American-made corn ethanol will come in part from Sunoco's new ethanol plant in Fulton, N.Y. The new fuel will be pumped directly from tankers at the track, rather than from on-site underground storage tanks.

* Double Duty Drivers And Subs

With the 5-Hour Energy 250 being the last stand-alone event on the NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule this season several of the driv-ers pulling double duty will have substitutes filling in for them during either practice and/or qualify-ing. Below is the list of drivers pulling double duty and their substitutes.

Out front is the series standings leader, Brad Keselowski who will have Penske Racing team-mate Parker Kligerman as a substitute.

Next is Carl Edwards who will have Roush Fenway Racing teammate Erik Darnell as a substitute.

Following them is Paul Menard (No. 98 Menards Ford) with Colin Braun as a substitute and Joe Nemechek (No. 87 NEMCO Motorsports Chevrolet) with Jeff Fuller as a substitute.

The fifth driver pulling double duty is Michael McDowell (No. 81 MacDonald Motorsports Dodge). McDowell has yet to name a substitute.

* Stremme On Standby For Gaughan

Rusty Wallace Racing has tasked David Stremme this weekend with being on call for father-to-be Brendan Gaughan (No. 62 South Point Hotel and Casino Toyota). Gaughan's wife, Tatum, is set to deliver their first child, a boy, any day now.

Gaughan has made two starts at Gateway posting a best series finish of 17th.

Gaughan is a previous winner at Gateway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series when he grabbed the checkered flag in 2003.

* New And Young Faces To Watch For

Brad Sweet (No. 11 Great Clips Toyota) will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Gateway International Raceway this weekend.

Sweet, a 24-year-old, Kasey Kahne Racing driver has made six NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts in the No. 90 Great Clips entry in 2010, with one top-10 finish to his credit.

Ryan Truex (No. 99 Aaron's Dream Ma-chine Toyota), brother of two-time series champion Martin Truex Jr., will be making his sixth NASCAR Nationwide Series start this season.

The 18-year old, Truex, made his series debut at Gateway earlier this season where he started 19th and finished 28th.

To date, Truex's best finish of his six career series starts came at Michigan where he placed 12th.

Up Next: Texas Motor Speedway

The NASCAR Nationwide Series steers the haulers West to the state of Texas and Texas Motor Speedway for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge.

The race will be televised live on ESPN2 with the telecast beginning at 12 p.m. and the green flag at 12:55 p.m.

The 2009 series champion, Kyle Busch has won the last four series races at Texas Motor Speedway, sweeping the last two years. In doing so he tied two-time series champion Kevin Harvick for the series lead of most wins at the famed 1.5-mile speedway, with four each.

Roush Fenway Racing driver, Matt Kenseth sat on the pole last season at Texas, his second of only two poles in 2009.

Fast Facts

Next Race: 5-Hour Energy 250
The Place: Gateway International Race-way (1.25-mile oval)

The Date: Saturday, October 23
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

The Distance: 250 miles / 200 laps

TV: ESPN2, 3:00 p.m. ET

2009 Winner: Inaugural Event
2009 Polesitter: Inaugural Event

Schedule prior to race day (times CT):
Friday: Practice, 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m.; Final Practice, 3:30--5 p.m.
Saturday: Qualifying, 9:35 p.m.

-source: nascar

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Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Matt Kenseth , Rusty Wallace , Jeff Fuller , Kevin Harvick , Joe Nemechek , Colin Braun , Trevor Bayne , Michael McDowell , Kasey Kahne , Brendan Gaughan , Martin Truex Jr. , Paul Menard , Carl Edwards , David Stremme , Brad Keselowski , Reed Sorenson , Justin Allgaier , Roger Penske , Parker Kligerman , Brad Sweet , Ryan Truex , Brandon McReynolds , Danica Patrick , Kyle Busch
Teams Team Penske , Roush Fenway Racing , NEMCO Motorsports