NASCAR & Auto Racing

Mark Martin returns to No. 5 on Saturday

A midweek look at NASCAR's No. 2 touring group, the Nationwide Series:

Elevator

UP - CLINT BOWYER

Big comeback from pit road incident at Dover may have saved his championship.

UP - KYLE BUSCH

May have fallen on hard times in Cup, but still rolling here.

UP - JUSTIN ALLGAIER

Will gain valuable experience with new ride at Penske Racing.

3 to Watch

1. KYLE BUSCH: Won this race a year ago and already has eight wins in the series this season. He's only two away from tying the record for most wins in a season, 10, which was set in 1983 by Sam Ard.

2. MARK MARTIN: The all-time series leader in wins (48) returns this weekend driving again for JR Motorsports' No. 5 team. He won earlier this season at Las Vegas, giving the team its first series victory.

3. CLINT BOWYER: Series leader is looking for a second win this season, and a victory at his home track - where he has yet to win in Nationwide or Cup - would do wonders.

Observations

Childress team closing the gapFor months it seemed Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 20 had all but locked up the owner championship, generally sustaining a more than 200-point lead in the standings. But in recent weeks Richard Childress Racing's No. 2 has whittled away at the lead and rests just 65 points behind with six races remaining.

Considering the dominance by JGR and Toyota in the series this season, the fact RCR has even made a competitive race in this championship race speaks volumes about that organization as well.

Take the case of Keselowski

Those who think the Nationwide Series isn't a training ground for the Cup series any longer need only look at Brad Keselowski's career to see the possibilities.

Just over a year ago, Keselowski was struggling to race each week and driving sub-par equipment. Dale Earnhardt Jr. thought he showed something with what he had and gave him a chance in his team's car. Now over a year later, Keselowski has two wins, is third in points and will make his Cup series debut with Hendrick Motorsports next month.

This week's race

Kansas Lottery 300

WHERE: Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kan.

WHEN: 3:30 p.m. Saturday

TV: ESPN2 LAST YEAR'S WINNER: Kyle Busch

TOP 10 IN POINTS

1. Clint Bowyer 4,222; 2. Carl Edwards 4,036; 3. Brad Keselowski 3,947; 4. Mike Bliss 3,779; 5. David Ragan 3,721; 6. David Reutimann 3,676; 7. Kyle Busch 3,673; 8. Mike Wallace 3,381; 9. Jason Leffler 3,348; 10. Marcos Ambrose 3,321.

  Comments