By admin | April 21, 2012
By Richard Allen
NASCAR’s minor league divisions over the past few seasons had served as a playground for Sprint Cup drivers. However, this year has seen the regulars in the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series strike back against those invaders who had dominated the win columns of those series’.
James Buescher’s truck victory in Saturday’s SFP 250 at the Kansas Speedway was the second win of the year out of four races held so far in that division. While that may not necessarily sound so impressive, consider that last season by this time Cup drivers had won three of the four truck races on their way to claiming seven of the first eight and eight of the first ten events on the schedule.
Of course, one key factor in the Cup drivers’ slight drop off in trucks is the fact that Kyle Busch no longer competes in the division. Last season, he alone accounted for five of those wins by top series drivers in those first ten truck events.
But it has been in the Nationwide Series where the regulars have most notably asserted themselves. So far, only Joey Logano in Fontana has managed to win on behalf of the Cup guys as five of the six races have been taken by those who are not racing fulltime in the top division in 2012.
Last year, Sprint Cup drivers were six for six in Nationwide events at this same point on the schedule. Those top stars would eventually win the first eleven second series races. And while Kyle Busch does still compete in this series on a regular basis, the struggles of his own team(he drove primarily for Joe Gibbs Racing’s Nationwide team last year) have no doubt helped reduce the Cup numbers. He also won five of the first ten in this class in 2011.
There could be any number of factors to account for the reduced number of wins in NASCAR’s two lower divisions so far in 2012.
NASCAR would probably like us to believe that their policy of not allowing Sprint Cup regulars compete for the series titles in other classes is a primary reason for this variance. However, more likely causes are the fact that drivers like Busch and Carl Edwards have simply abandoned one series or the other for one reason ot another and that sponsors no longer seem willing to fund the playground efforts of the sport’s bigger stars.
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