A midweek look at NASCAR's No. 2 series from The Charlotte Observer's Jim Utter:
UP – Richard Childress Racing
Took three of the top four finishing positions last weekend at Texas.
EVEN – David Ragan
In contention for the points lead, now must contend for race wins.
DOWN – Kyle Krisiloff
Has struggled with his opportunity with Chip Ganassi Racing.
3 to Watch
JAMES BUESCHER: The 18-year-old driver who has raced in the Automobile Racing Club of America and Hooters Pro Cup series will make his Nationwide debut at Phoenix in a Toyota for Braun Racing.
DARIO FRANCHITTI: Failed to qualify for Sprint Cup race at Texas but did earn rookie of the race honors in Nationwide event. He now leads the rookie points race by 17 over Bryan Clauson.
KEVIN HARVICK: Finished in the top five in each of the past five Phoenix races. Driving for his own Kevin Harvick Inc. team this weekend.
Kyle Busch continues to set new benchmarks in NASCAR. His win last weekend at Texas gave him wins in all three national series already this season. And remarkably, it’s the fourth consecutive season Busch has won at least one race in all three series. Two other drivers have ever won races in all three series in the same year – Terry Labonte in 1995 and Kevin Harvick in 2003. That certainly puts Busch in good company.
Don’t think the Nationwide series is a training ground for young drivers? Twelve of the drivers entered in Friday’s race are 24 years old or younger. That group includes three drivers currently in the series top-10 in points – 22-year-old David Ragan, 24-year-old Brad Keselowski and 23-year-old Kelly Bires.
Series regular Bobby Hamilton Jr. is pulling a different double duty this weekend. He is also entered in tonight’s NASCAR Camping World West series race at Phoenix.
This week's race
BASHAS' SUPERMARKETS 200
WHERE: Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Ariz.
WHEN: 9:45 p.m. Friday.
LAST YEAR'S WINNER: Clint Bowyer
TOP 10 IN POINTS: 1. Clint Bowyer, 1,047; 2. Carl Edwards, 990; 3. David Reutimann, 927; 4. David Ragan, 913; 5. Kyle Busch, 888; 7. Mike Bliss, 848; 8. Jason Leffler, 841; 9. Kelly Bires, 820; 10. Kevin Harvick, 817.