NASCAR Nationwide Series News and Notes - Texas *Edwards Can't Deny Momentum En Route To Texas *Logano Steps Up; JGR Regains Owner Standings Lead *In The Loop: Busch, Harvick Face Off In Ft. Worth *No Repeat: Ambrose Hopes To Avoid 10th-Place ...
NASCAR Nationwide Series News and Notes - Texas
*Edwards Can't Deny Momentum En Route To Texas
*Logano Steps Up; JGR Regains Owner Standings Lead
*In The Loop: Busch, Harvick Face Off In Ft. Worth
*No Repeat: Ambrose Hopes To Avoid 10th-Place Stumble
Edwards' Double-Duty Diligence Seeking Late-Season Payoff
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 28, 2008) - Carl Edwards (No. 60 Save-A-Lot Ford) refuses to believe in momentum. But like it or not, the reigning NASCAR Nationwide Series champion has "Big Mo" on his side heading to Texas Motor Speedway.
After winning at Memphis Motortsports Park last week, he reduced Clint Bowyer's (No. 2 BB&T Chevrolet) standings lead to 116 points, the closest he's been to first place in eight races.
The double-duty driver topped the weekend off by winning at Atlanta Motor Speedway and moved into second in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings -- 184 points behind Jimmie Johnson.
Edwards can become the first driver in NASCAR history to win NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series titles in the same year. He heads to Texas, the track where he clinched the 2007 NASCAR Nationwide Series title, to challenge Bowyer and Johnson for both leads.
Edwards has two NASCAR Sprint Cup wins at Texas, winning there in April and also in November 2005.
His career-best finish at Texas in the NASCAR Nationwide Series is third (twice). He finished 13th at the 1.5-mile speedway earlier this season.
The mojo continues for Edwards at Texas. Roush Fenway Racing team owner Jack Roush has the most wins there in both NASCAR Sprint Cup (five) and NASCAR Nationwide Series (five) competition.
Bowyer, meanwhile, has a fine record of his own in Ft. Worth.
He's recorded top-five finishes in his last three races at Texas, including third-place results in last season's November race and the spring event this year.
Unlike Edwards last year, Bowyer can't clinch his first championship at Texas. However, anyone below the top three will be eliminated in the title race if Bowyer starts the race.
Carl Edwards is currently having the most successful double-duty season ever.
Logano: The Guardian Of JGR's Owner Championship Hopes
With three races to go, Joey Logano (No. 20 GameStop Toyota) has Joe Gibbs Racing back in the lead for the owner championship by a 39-point margin thanks to a timely fifth-place finish at Memphis.
The No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet took a one-point lead into Memphis, but Clint Bowyer's 16th-place finish -- his worst in eight races -- allowed the No. 20 Toyota to reclaim the lead.
Logano, 18, will make his first series start at Texas this weekend, but he's faired well in his starts on intermediate tracks this season.
He posted his first series win at Kentucky Speedway, finished second at Gateway International Raceway, was ninth at Kansas Speedway and was 14th at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Logano also will be in the No. 20 for the final two races of the season. In head-to-head competition this year, Bowyer owns an average finish of 8.5 while Logano carries a 9.5 average finish over the 16 races in which both drivers have competed.
In The Loop: Triple-Threat Busch Has Best Loop Numbers In NNS At Texas
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Farm Bureau Insurance Toyota) will again pull triple duty this weekend, running the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races at Texas Motor Speedway.
Versatility and stamina are one thing, but statistically, Busch has an excellent chance of pulling the first ever triple-duty sweep.
His stats at Texas are strong in each series.
In the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, he has a Driver Rating of 93.2 and an Average Running Position of 12.3.
In the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, he has a Driver Rating of 111.0 and an Average Running Position of 9.0.
But only in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition does Busch own a Texas victory. In his seven Texas starts in the series, he has a win (in this season's spring race), five top fives and six top 10s. Since the inception of Loop Data in 2005, he has a Driver Rating of 109.9, an Average Running Position of 9.8, 139 Fastest Laps Run and a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 80.1%.
Busch's main competition in the NASCAR Nationwide race will likely come from Kevin Harvick, a four-time winner at Texas.
Since 2005, Harvick has a Driver Rating of 118.6, an Average Running Position of 8.6, 108 Fastest Laps Run and a Laps in the Top 15 percentage of 83.6%.
Series-only regular Brad Keselowski (No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet) always seems to step up his game when running at companion events. He's run four races at Texas, but only two in the No. 88 Chevrolet. In those events, he's been solid. In the No. 88, he has a Driver Rating of 92.6, an Average Running Position of 11.1 and a Laps in the top 15 percentage of 86.0%.
Ambrose Can't Rest On 10th-Place Standings Cushion
Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 Kingsford Tailgate at Home Ford) is 10th in the standings, holding the final ticket for NASCAR Nationwide Series Awards Banquet in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 22.
But David Stremme (No. 64 Loan Star Title Loans Chevrolet), who's 11th and series ironman Jason Keller (No. 27 Kleenex Ford), 12th, continue to put pressure on Ambrose for the coveted final slot.
If recent history is any indication though, Ambrose needs to keep pushing despite a 112-point advantage over Stremme and a 146- point cushion on Keller.
Last season Mike Wallace (No 7 GEICO Toyota) was in the same situation as Ambrose with three races to go. He sported a 102-point lead over Matt Kenseth. But Kenseth overcame Wallace in the final three events to make up the difference and take over the 10th spot at season's end.
Can Stremme or Keller do the same?
Ambrose has three starts at Texas with a career-best finish of 18th earlier this year. He's posted one win (Watkins Glen), three top fives and five top 10s in 32 starts in 2008.
Stremme has five series starts at Texas with a best finish of 17th in November 2005. He has five top fives and 15 top 10s this season in 29 starts.
Keller has one top 10 in 13 career starts at Texas and has one top five and four top 10s in 32 starts this year.
Martin, Montoya Make Series Return At Texas; Harvick Wants Return To Victory Lane
Bryan Clauson and Landon Cassill are tied for the 2008 Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings lead, each with 177 points.
But neither driver is entered this weekend at Texas, so the closest rookie race in two years is on hold until next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.
Mark Martin, the series' all-time wins (48) and poles (30) leader will drive the No. 5 Delphi Chevrolet while Juan Pablo Montoya will take over the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge at Texas.
Martin's last series start was in September at Kansas. He won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this season.
He's registered the second-most wins at Texas with three, behind two-time series champion Kevin Harvick (No. 33 Camping World Chevrolet) who has four, the last three in succession. Each of Harvick's wins have come while driving for Richard Childress; he's seeking his first victory in NASCAR Nationwide competition in his own KHI equipment.
A fourth consecutive win in the same event would put Harvick behind Dale Earnhardt, who had five straight victories at the same race. He won at Daytona International Speedway from 1990-94 before two races were contested at the track.
Montoya is making his return after a one year hiatus from the series. He will compete in two of the last three events -- Texas and Homestead-Miami Miami Speedway.
Montoya's first national series start came in the NASCAR Nationwide Series two years ago at Memphis and his first national series win was at the NASCAR Nationwide race at Mexico City in 2007. He was the first driver of Hispanic origin to win a NASCAR national series race.
He'll be reunited with crew chief Brad Parrott, who guided him to that historic first victory at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
The Director's Take: Getting In A Groove At Texas
With Halloween approaching this week, it's fitting that things that go "bump" are a big part of how teams will approach the O'Reilly Challenge.
"We're coming off the last short track of the year and move on to a three-groove, 1.5-mile track," said NASCAR Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash.
"At some tracks, teams have to tune the car one way. But Texas gives the crew chiefs options.
"They'll be able to take advantage of the multiple grooves to set their car up to where it wants to run, or to the groove that the driver is most comfortable in.
"One thing they'll need to be concerned with when they pick their lane is the bumps. Texas Motor Speedway has worked hard to smooth out the track but its signature bumps will still factor in to the set-ups of the Nationwide cars."
Busch One Win Away From Ard
Defending race winner Kyle Busch leads the series with nine wins and stands one victory away from tying Sam Ard's record of 10 wins in a season set in 1983.
Ard only participated in three seasons (1982-84) in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and won two championships. In his record-setting season, Ard ran off five wins in the last six races to set the standard.
Busch returns to Texas after winning there earlier this season. He has five top fives and six top 10s in seven career starts at Texas.
He's entered in all three races this weekend and also is competing in the final two NASCAR Nationwide events of the year at Phoenix and Homestead.
Kevin Harvick had nine wins in his second championship season in 2006 -- winning his ninth race at Texas -- but was unable to pull even with Ard in the final two events.
Young Drivers On Display At Texas
Four drivers on the future NASCAR Nationwide "watch list" are entered at Texas.
Justin Allgaier (No. 12 Mobil 1 Dodge), 22, made his series debut at Lowe's Motor Speedway Oct. 10. He'll run a limited schedule next year for Penske Racing.
Marc Davis, 18, made his series debut last week at Memphis for Joe Gibbs Racing. In order to gain more seat time, he'll run the No. 22 Supercuts Dodge for Fitz Motorsports.
Stephen Leicht (No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) looks for his fifth series start this season for RCR. In his first full-time season in the series in 2007, he finished seventh in the standings and was 10th at Texas last November.
John Wes Townley (No. 09 Zaxby's Ford) will attempt his third series start. Last week, RAB Racing announced a full-time 2009 schedule for Townley, 19, in the Zaxby's Ford.
Up Next: Hefty Odor Blocks 200 at Phoenix International Raceway
The countdown to the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series championship continues at the next stop on the schedule, Phoenix for the Hefty Odor Block 200 on Nov. 8.
ESPN 2 will broadcast the event live at 4 p.m. ET.
Kyle Busch has back-to-back wins at Phoenix -- this race last year and the April event this season. He's tied with 2003 series champion, Greg Biffle, for most wins at the 1-mile track.
Current standings leader Clint Bowyer captured the Coors Light Pole last season at Phoenix and went on to finish third.
The Race: O'Reilly Challenge
The Place: Texas Motor Speedway
The Date: Saturday, Nov. 1
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Track Size: 1.5-mile oval
The Distance: 300 miles / 200 laps
TV: ESPN 2, 3 p.m. ET
Radio: Sirius NASCAR Radio / PRN
2007 Winner: Kevin Harvick
2007 Pole: David Reutimann
Friday--Practice 9-10:15 a.m.; Final Practice 10:40-11:55 a.m.; Qualifying, 5:35 p.m.