NASCAR Race Review: Royal Purple 300

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. Saturday afternoon the NASCAR Nationwide Series raced the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Ca. Stars come out for this event as it is near Hollywood. David Archuleta (American Idol contestant) sang the National Anthem. Howie Mandel started the engines and Molly Ringwold waved the Green Flag to start the race.

Six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers were in the race and all six qualified in the top ten. 60 Carl Edwards and 33 Kevin Harvick started from the front row and swapped the lead back and forth for most of the race. The first caution was for debris from 28 Derrike Cope when he blew a tire. 60 made a pit stop but 33 and 88 Aric Armirola and most of the top ten stayed out. 88 led, but 33 quickly took over.

03 Alex Kennedy spins, but collects himself and there is no caution. 18 Kyle Busch takes second from 88. The second caution comes out during the commercial for spinning 41 Jennifer Jo Cobb. 39 Charles Lewandoski stays out to lead. 30 Reed Sorenson takes no tires to come out of the pits first. Each of them led a lap before the third caution came out for spinning 66 Steve Wallace.

The Sprint Cup drivers make some bold moves for position and Green Flag Pitting starts before the fourth caution comes out. 81 Blake Koch blows a tire and smacks the wall. 99 Ryan Truex gets his lap back and those that pitted under Green take the wave around to get back onto the lead lap.

Cup drivers then take over leading again with 16 Trevor Bayne and 6 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in the mix. The fifth caution comes out when 51 Jeremy Clements looses a tire and hits the wall. The axle flies off the car! 62 Michael Annett gets his lap back.

At the restart, 60, 33 and 18 are three wide for the lead and 60 takes the lead. 6 goes under all of them to take the lead. We find 16, 38 Jason Leffler, 88, 31 Justin Allgaier and 11 Brian Scott racing each other. 22 Brad Keselowski pits because he is too loose and Green Flag Pitting starts again with about 20 laps to go.

60 is the first leader to pit, putting 33 into the lead. With fresh tires, 60 races quickly through the field. 33 waits a few laps to pit and comes out behind 60 on the track. That puts 18 into the lead. Both get by 18 to unlap themselves. 18 pits, but takes only two tires, giving him the lead back. And there are not enough laps to catch him. 18 gets into the wall on the last lap and 60 catches up to him, but cannot get to him before the Checkered Flag flies. And 18 Kyle Busch (Cup driver) wins another Nationwide race.

And now, NASCAR race fans, a fan commentary:

The NASCAR Nationwide Series has become a showcase for Sprint Cup drivers. They have won the last five or six Nationwide Championships. Not only that, but last year only one Nationwide regular was able to win a Nationwide race. While I understand that Cup drivers may pack the stands, the Series has become a mini Cup Series with Cup drivers dominating the Series.

NASCAR this year decided that no Cup driver would be able to win the Nationwide Championship and had each driver declare which Series they would be racing for the championship in. If the driver isn’t racing for the Series championship, they get no points. That lets the Series’ regulars win the Championship. Good move.

However. Cup drivers are still entering most or all of the races in the lower Series and taking away wins and money from the Series’ regulars. The media is adding up all Kyle Busch’s wins in all three National Series’ and he is determined to win the same 200 races that Richard Petty won in what is now Sprint Cup. They are putting him on the all-time wins list and shoving him down our throats. I have a problem with this as a NASCAR fan.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series are drivers who cannot or did not make it at the Cup level. Up and coming drivers start their NASCAR career in these Series’. Some have moved up to Cup, but they are more competitive in the lower Series’. And they used to be able to win there. With Cup drivers entering most or all of these races, they are no longer winning races in their own Series’. It used to be that Cup drivers entered only a handful of races in the lower series’. Not today. On any given day, a Cup driver has a better chance of winning these races than a Series’ regular. That makes for more exciting racing? I don’t think so.

Was this Royal Purple 300 race exciting? Only a few regular Nationwide drivers led any laps. It was a contest between the Cup drivers. I will see the Cup drivers race each other on Sunday. I don’t care to see them race each other on Saturday as well. I watch to see how my favorite Nationwide driver will do. The spotlight is on all Cup drivers while the Nationwide regulars take a back seat in these races. Yes Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. is leading the points. Yes a Nationwide regular will win the Championship. But they are not being allowed to win any races. How can these drivers showcase their talent when all eyes are on Cup drivers? They race in the Minor Leagues to win and only to win.

I have a suggestion. Two suggestions. First, limit the number of races any Cup driver can enter in the Minor Leagues. Cup drivers can’t go for championship points, but they can go for owner points. This means a Cup owner will win the owner championship. If a Nationwide owner has only Cup drivers in their cars/trucks they should not be allowed to compete for the owner championship. They should be forced to find themselves a Nationwide/Truck driver to compete at least some of the time. And they should not be allowed to break the lower series’ records.

Second, have the Cup drivers all start from the rear in the order that they qualify. It would be a much better race watching the best out there have to work their way through traffic to get to the front. And they should not be allowed to take a series regular out to get there. Do you fans want excitement? Watch Nationwide regulars race for the lead. Talk about how good Nationwide drivers are racing. And watch the best start from the rear and have to work their way through traffic to get to the front. Give the little guys a chance to win in their own Series. Isn’t that what the Minor Leagues is all about? In no other Sport are Pros allowed to compete at the lower level while still maintaining their Pro status. Pros only go to the Minor Leagues in their Sport if they are not winning or performing at the Pro level.

Let’s get NASCAR back to what it was meant to be. Not just a playground for Cup drivers so they can break all the Minor League records. On any given day, in any Series, a Cup driver will win the race. I say limit how often this will happen and make then work for that win.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I love NASCAR.

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