Commentary:NASCAR Nationwide Series

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Saturday Kyle Busch made history in the New Hampshire 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Louden, NH. He won the race, becoming the first driver to win a second race in the 25 year history of the track. He also became the all-time lap leader in Busch/Nationwide history. He is now tied with Kevin Harvick for most wins and will be going for Mark Martin’s record of most wins in the Series.

Great stats, right? But I have to wonder why. Why go for the stats in the second tier NASCAR racing series? So he can become the all time best Cup driver to ever race in the Nationwide Series? Is that what the Series should be for? To have Cup drivers break each others’ records? I say, big deal.

Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt both have seven championships in what is now Sprint Cup. Impressive, right? Certainly. Frank Kimmel has nine ARCA Championships. Does that make Frank a better driver than either Dale or Richard? Certainly not. He’s a champion in a lesser Series. It’s impressive for that Series, but not something a Sprint Cup regular would want to aspire to.

So, I have to ask again. Why? A more impressive stat would be Cup championships. Like Petty and Earnhardt. Jimmie Johnson has four consecutive Cup Championships. Now that’s a stat to strive for. Not the best Cup driver to ever run in the Busch/Nationwide Series. Apparently Joe Gibbs Racing has found something for their Nationwide program. And they have Cup regulars racing in their Nationwide cars most weekends. I say big deal. Cup drivers racing in Nationwide SHOULD be winning.

But Busch/Nationwide was born, not as a playground for Cup drivers, but to develop new drivers for the Cup Series. And to give drivers who aren’t good enough to race with the “big” guys in Cup. Certainly Cup drivers racing in Nationwide have an advantage over the regular Nationwide drivers. They are in Cup, after all. And they have more money to spend on their program. But is it a stat Cup drivers should be going for? Not in my opinion.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won consecutive Titles in Busch in 1998 and 1999 and went on to Cup. Same with Martin Truex, Jr. Brian Vickers won his Busch Championship and moved up to Cup. Same with Kevin Harvick. And Harvick did that as a Rookie in Cup after taking over the car Dale Earnhardt had when he was killed in the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. He went back there doing double duty to win the Title again in 2006. And since then Cup drivers have won the Busch/Nationwide Championship. But is this right?

Greg Biffle, in my opinion, did things the right way. He won a Championship in the Craftsman Truck Series and moved on to Busch. He stayed there until he won the Championship there and moved on to Cup. Now he is trying to win a Cup Championship. It used to be that’s how you did it. You put in your dues in the lesser series and moved up to Cup. You didn’t start in Cup and go back to win in the lesser series. It begs the question, why? Just to claim all the stats for the lesser series? Who really cares how well a Cup driver does in Nationwide? A driver might  better want to dominate the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. It is certainly a more impressive stat than dominating the second tier series. In my opinion.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR

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