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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bristol news and notes

Future on display
During the Nationwide race Saturday, there was a moment where drivers Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Justin Allgaier were all battling each other for a spot toward the front of the pack. These three young drivers are names you will be hearing about for many years to come, and I envision that same battle happening countless times in the future during Cup races.

Everyone knows about Logano’s reputation, and once he settles into Cup I think he’ll start living up to it. Keselowski is another rising star, and assuming Mark Martin ever retires he has a spot waiting for him at Hendrick Motorsports. Allgaier will become a star at the Penske team and be in Cup very soon.

Quick downturn for Riggs, Mayfield
After being such success stories at the Daytona 500, it’s sad to see what has become of Jeremy Mayfield Motorsports and Tommy Baldwin Racing. Both Mayfield and Scott Riggs failed to make the field for the third straight week, after qualifying the first two weeks.

Having just been created in January, these teams making Daytona was a miracle. Now, if they continue not to qualify, it will be a miracle if they survive the year, and that would be a shame after their promising start.

Kvapil likely done
Another driver who probably won’t be around at Martinsville is Travis Kvapil, who doesn’t have any more sponsorship for the #28 Yates Racing car. His story is just further proof of how the economy’s troubles are affecting NASCAR. Last year, that team cobbled together enough sponsors to do the whole season, but it’s not going to happen in 2009.

First misstep for Brian Keselowski
The Michigan-based K Automotive team had met its goals in the Nationwide Series up until this weekend. But Brian Keselowski had his first setback at Bristol when he missed the race. As a result, he is now out of the top 30 in points. He has one more race to do well enough to get back into the top 30 so he will have a guaranteed starting spot in future weeks.

Pole-winner Gaughan struggles on race day
Congratulations to Brendan Gaughan, who earned his first Nationwide pole. The bad news is he couldn’t translate that to a strong finish. Gaughan is clearly talented, but too often he is snakebitten once the green flag drops.

Another Cup guy wins
Kevin Harvick was thrilled to get his first win driving for his own team. I, on the other hand, can never get too excited when a Cup guy wins the Nationwide race.


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