By admin | June 25, 2009
By Richard Allen
As if everyone doesn’t already know, Sprint Cup teams and drivers have an enormous advantage when they race in the Nationwide Series. Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch illustrated that very clearly this past Saturday during the running of the Northern Tools 250 at the Milwaukee Mile.
Because the Sprint Cup cars were racing halfway across the country in Sonoma, California neither Edwards nor Busch were able to practice or qualify their cars in Milwaukee. Neither driver had run a single lap on that track in their cars prior to the start of the race.
From the start of the race it was apparent the two drivers had the best cars. Both were forced to start at the rear of the field due to the fact they did not qualify nor practice their machines. By the halfway point, the two were at the front of the pack.
Busch took the lead on lap 126 where he remained until lap 205 when Edwards took over at the front of the pack. Edwards led from that point to the checkered flag. Busch went on to finish in 2nd place.
The finish allowed these two to further cement the place at the top of the Nationwide standings.
Because the Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series raced so far apart these were the only drivers from NASCAR’s top division to make the long trek from one venue to the other.
Even with the travel, the lack of preparation and the polar opposites of the two circuits on which they were to race during the weekend, Edwards and Busch thoroughly dominated the Northern Tools 250.
They jetted in, the jetted to the front of the field and they jetted away. And more importantly, they drove home the point that Sprint Cup Series teams with all their resources and finances can bury those without the same resources at their disposal. Even most of those teams who employ non-Cup drivers are actually extensions of bigger Cup teams.
The Nationwide race in Milwaukee just further shows how this series, once meant to stand alone, has now simply become the ‘Sprint Cup Lite’ division. Even on the few weekends where the two series’ race far apart the Cup powers dominate, seemingly without even trying.
This week, the Nationwide Series can get back to what it has evolved into. That is to be a warm up for the Sunday race. Sprint Cup drivers driving for Sprint Cup teams will get back to business this Saturday at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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