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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Brett Moffitt, Darrell Wallace Jr., Johanna Long and other stars of tomorrow shine at Iowa in Nationwide race

The future stars of NASCAR were on display Saturday night in Iowa, as the rare weekend away from the Cup stars brought out some talented young guns.

Brett Moffitt, 19, who may sound young but has years of being fast in a racecar under his belt, got a top 10 finish in his first ever Nationwide series race. To say this boy has a bright future would be an understatement.

Moffitt said after the race:

"There was so much I learned tonight, let alone this was my first time ever in a Nationwide car. Learning pit stops was big and then learning the aero -- these cars race so much different than the East (NASCAR K&N Pro Series East) car. Learning what gets your aero loose and how to tuck a fender to get downforce on it when you're racing right behind a car, that was the big lessons and I think I learned a lot tonight."

Darrell Wallace Jr., just 18 years old, drove his second race for Joe Gibbs Racing, came home 7th and led laps too. Again, it is safe to say he will be around this sport for a long time, and end up in the big show full-time one day soon, maybe with Gibbs if he can hold on to him and come up with the sponsorship.

Wallace said after the race:

"I learned a lot. I think I got out too hot right there at the beginning and kind of used the tires up. We fell off right there in pit road -- mistake, my fault there. It's cool to lead the first lap. I don't know if he (Elliott Sadler) gave it to me or I took it away from him, so that was fun there. Glad he got the win. That was cool. Definitely learned a lot from just running in the pack. I know our car wasn't that great on restarts and that's where we lost all our track position. We could have tightened it up a little bit more on that last run, I think we could have got a shot for running at least top-five, but definitely better tonight."

Johanna Long, just 20 years old and driving for a team that is far less cash-flush than the folks who run up front all the time, came home in 13th and on the lead lap, not a small feat at a tough short track like Iowa. The former winner of the Snowball Derby is one to watch as the years progress, and I hope she gets a ride with a top team at some point soon so we can really see what she is capable of doing.

And let us not forget Ryan Blaney, making his Nationwide debut in a Penske car. He has racing in his blood, and it shows; he came home 10th at Iowa in the #22 car,

The lesson here: NASCAR has plenty of talented young folks on the way up, and they will no doubt be among the stars of tomorrow in this sport.

That is why I love these standalone races so much: No Cup guys interfering, so we can see the talent of the future on display today.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

And it would be interesting to see what Ms Long would accomplish with the kind of equipment "the greatest female race car driver ever" has. The oh so talented Ms Patrick finished 11th to Ms Long's 13th. I didn't see ESPN interview Ms Long, but apparently an 11th place finisher is worthy of TV time.

August 5, 2012 at 8:00 AM 

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