Series: NASCAR Nationwide Series
Race: Feed The Children 300
Track: Kentucky Speedway
Defending Champion: Austin Dillon
The Nationwide Series goes back to normal after last weekend’s race at Road America. No ringers, no right turns, and no AJ Allmendinger.
Kentucky was the site of three straight first-time race winners. David Gilliland got the party started in 2006, then Stephen Leicht got in on the action in 2007, and Joey Logano put his stamp on it in 2008. It took until last year, when Austin Dillon won, for another first-time winner to appear.
Logano continued the winning streak picking up the 2009 and 2010 races giving him the three-peat. Lucky for the field he is not entered in Friday night’s race.
Mike Wallace will break free of his brother Kenny for the all-time lead in starts at the track. He will attempt his 11th race. Whereas Kenny will not be there as a driver, but as a commenter for Speed.
Jamie Dick made his first start here in July of 2011. There was much rejoicing.
Regan Smith lost a good chunk of points after last weekend. The difference between he and second place Justin Allgaier is just 28 points, with Sam Hornish, Jr. only 30 markers out. When we thought Smith was checking out, right back in it comes the field.
Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch will attempt the triple, running all three top series at Kentucky. Drivers running the double include Scott Riggs and Matt Crafton (Trucks and Nationwide), Austin Dillon, Mike Bliss, Josh Wise, Brian Vickers, and Joe Nemechek (Nationwide and Cup).
Drivers To Watch:
Austin Dillon – Start with the driver at the top, he’s got two starts at Kentucky and he has two poles and two wins. He has the highest rating at 144.8 and is looking for a bounce back finish after a 20th at Michigan and 10th last weekend.
Kyle Busch – I’m not sure there’s much more to say than Kyle Busch in a Nationwide Series race. Pretty much game over. He’s 6 for 11 already this season and no reason to believe he can’t get win number 7.
Sam Hornish, Jr. – Even though he’s had three finishes of 25th or worse, Hornish has kept his #12 Ford near the top of the standings. Funny he finished fifth at Road America and dropped a position in the standings. He has two career starts at Kentucky finishing sixth in his debut and second in the fall race. Yes, he might be a good pick this weekend.
Brad Keselowski – Do we remember Brad Keselowski? Well he hasn’t’ been in a Nationwide Series since Richmond, aka seven races ago. Well, he’s back and ready to pick up where he left off. In victory lane which he did last at Richmond and did last at Kentucky in 2010. He’ll get some added laps by running the Truck Series race on Thursday.
Elliott Sadler – In four starts at the track in two series, Sadler has never finished lower than ninth in a race at Kentucky. Coming into this weekend Sadler has finished in the top-10 the last three races, including a third at Iowa. He seems to be trending up as he and his crew have gotten more time together.
Regan Smith - Smith does not have a good track record when it comes to Kentucky on either the Nationwide or Sprint Cup Series. He hasn’t been in a Nationwide car here since 2007, so here’s to hoping time away has made him better. He has done a great job so far and needs to continue to make up for lost points.
Matt Crafton - Crafton gets the nod in the Richard Childress Racing #33 Chevrolet this weekend. Why would he make my pick of who to watch? Well, because the truck veteran is making a random Nationwide Series start with a really good team. Thus giving him a great opportunity to show us what we’ve been missing all these years.