Nationwide returns to action at Texas
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Nationwide Series resumes its schedule on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway after taking a two-week break. The series last competed on March 24 in Fontana, CA, where Joey Logano scored the victory.
Elliott Sadler, the current points leader, is off to the best start in his NASCAR career. Sadler has finished ninth or better, including two victories, in the first five Nationwide races this season. His wins came at Phoenix and Bristol.
Sadler holds an 18-point lead over second-place and defending series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. His No. 2 Richard Childress Racing team also leads by 18 points in the owner standings.
"We're definitely off to a fast start," Sadler said. "We're competing at a higher level this year than what we did I feel like the whole entire season last year, which is always good. We feel like as a team we're communicating together very well. We have a lot of experience on my race team. A lot of the guys on my team have been on the 29 Cup car [Kevin Harvick] the last couple years, so experience is always a key factor.
"We feel like we're bringing really fast race cars to the track, and we're still improving. We've got better, faster stuff coming down the pipeline, but we've just got to compete at a high level week in and week out, because that's what we're going to have to do to stay where we're at in the points."
Sadler has competed in eight Nationwide races at Texas, earning five top-10 finishes and two poles. He also has one Sprint Cup win at this track, which came in April 2004.
Last year, Sadler finished fifth in the Nationwide spring race at Texas. When the series returned there in November, he captured his fifth pole of the season, but a loose-handling condition led to a ninth-place run.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Paul Menard, Kasey Kahne, David Ragan, Kurt Busch and Logano are those Sprint Cup regulars competing in this race.
Busch will make his first of an estimated 17 Nationwide starts in the No. 54 Toyota, which is owned by his younger brother, Kyle.
Kurt Busch made his first career Nationwide start in the 2006 spring race at Texas. After starting seventh, he led 70 of 206 laps en route to the win. Busch finished eighth at Texas one year later. This will be the third time he has competed in a Nationwide event at this track.
"There�s nothing bigger than winning in Texas," he said. "You can't have a better place to race at."
Kyle Busch has driven the No. 54 car in the first five races this season.
Forty-five teams are on the preliminary entry list for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Friday, April 13. Race: O'Reilly Auto Parts 300. Site: Texas Motor Speedway. Track: 1.5-mile oval. Start time: 8:30 p.m. (et). Laps: 200. Miles: 300. 2011 Winner: Carl Edwards. Television: ESPN 2. Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Satellite.
04/13 11:48:09 ET