NASCAR's Nationwide Series Bucyrus 200 Preview
By: Jeff Grant
Thursday, June 23, 2011
While the Nationwide Series is running in Wisconsin, the Sprint Cup gang is in Sonoma for the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Road America in Elkhart, Wisconsin this week, as the Bucyrus 200 is scheduled for a Saturday start time of 2:30 p.m. (PT) on ESPN.
Road America, roughly 60 miles north of Milwaukee, is the longest track on any of NASCAR’s three national touring series at a distance of 4.048 miles. The series ran at this track for the first time last year when it replaced The Milwaukee Mile on the schedule.
Saturday’s race is the first of three road-course events in Nationwide this season. The series will run at Watkins Glen, NY on August 13 and then Montreal one week later.
Carl Edwards (13/10) won the inaugural race at this site last year and performed his celebratory backflip. The current Sprint Cup points leader controlled the race by leading 35 of 50 laps. Edwards is the only Sprint Cup regular attempting the Infineon Raceway/Road America combo this weekend.
“The most demanding weekend of the year is this one,” he commented. “I feel that Saturday’s race will help me prepare for Sunday and will make up for the lost practice in the Sprint Cup car. There is a lot of pride in winning on a road course, and a win at either event would be huge.”
Second-place finisher from last year, Ron Fellows (4/1), is also scheduled to be in the field. He will drive the No. 7 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports this weekend.
Plenty of attention will be given to Canadian driver Jacques Villenueve (6/1), who was leading this race with nine laps to go last year, while also suffering engine failure on the final lap. He will be racing in the No. 22 Dodge for Penske racing, taking the place of Brad Keselowski.
One of the more interesting story lines entering this weekend is the arrival of Ricky Carmichael (8/1 - Field), a Camping World Truck series driver and 15-time motocross champion, as he is scheduled to make his Nationwide debut. This weekend’s 50-lap race will be his first road course race in his NASCAR national series career.
Nationwide points leader Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (15/1) is fresh off a runner-up finish last week in Michigan, holding a slim two-point advantage over Eliott Sadler (15/1). The 24-year-old has 11 top-10 finishes in 15 starts this season.
Don’t expect heart-pounding speeds when the checkered flag is dropped, as Edwards finished last year’s race with an average speed of just 68.501 mph. The inaugural event also saw just seven lead changes between five drivers and seven caution flags that lasted 14 laps combined.
Forty-One teams are on the preliminary entry list and will be fighting for a total purse of $1,110,987.