On Your Side with Nationwide News and Notes

Ben BombergerSenior Writer IMarch 3, 2009

After three straight weekends of Nationwide Series competitions, NASCAR's minor league takes a two-week hiatus before returning to the infamous dome in Bristol.

Although there won't be any Nationwide cars on the track this weekend, here are a few of the top stories from the Series.


Lucky Number Three

It's too bad nobody drives the No. 3 car in the Nationwide Series, because it appears three is the magic number thus far.

After three races, the number three is key in various categories.

Three different drivers have visited Victory Lane so far. (Tony Stewart at Daytona, Kyle Busch at Auto Club and Greg Biffle at Las Vegas.)

Of those three drivers, none captured a pole, but three other drivers have. (Kevin Harvick at Daytona, Carl Edwards at ACS and Scott Speed at Las Vegas.)

In three race weekends, three drivers have occupied the top spot in the driver standings. (Stewart after Daytona, Busch after California and current leader Edwards after a third-place finish at Las Vegas.)

Edwards leads the points for the first time since winning his 2007 series title.

On top of that, three different owners have led the way in the owner points as well. (No. 80 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy after Daytona, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy following ACS, and the current leader, the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford.)


With all the threes, Harvick hopes that is a sign that his No. 33 will get him his 33rd win in the series real soon.


And the Nationwide Series Champion is...

The media has always been able to try and predict the NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, but this year, they will also attempt to do so in the Nationwide Series.

Currently, the three past Nationwide Series champions are ranked 1-3 in the top-10 in the driver rankings (Edwards, 2007; Brian Vickers, 2003 and Biffle, 2002), while the last two series owner champions—the No. 29 RCR Chevy (2007) and the No. 20 JGR Toyota (1008)—reside in the top-10 in owner standings.

The media will not only try and predict the Nationwide Series driver and owner champions, but also the Raybestos Rookie of the Year.

Voting will run through March 10.


Rookies Earning Their Stripes

Rookies in NASCAR carry a yellow stripe on the back bumper of their car. This is to help other drivers realize they may make rash and unplanned moves—OK, not really, but it does show that an inexperienced driver is behind the wheel.

Four rookies finished in the top 10 at Las Vegas (Michael McDowell, sixth; Justin Allgaier, eighth; Brendan Gaughan, seventh and Scott Lagasse Jr, ninth).

Four rookies in the top-10 is the  most since the 2007 race at Talladega.

McDowell paced the first-year drivers with his sixth-place result. Allgaier appeared to have the car to beat, but brushed the wall late in the race and finished eighth.

Two rookies are currently in the top 10 in driver standings: Gaughan is fourth and McDowell is 10th. Allgaier isn't far behind in 11th, and Lagasse is 15th after three races.

The eight 2009 rookie contenders have been strong from the get-go this season. Two finished in the top-15 at Daytona (McDowell in 14th and Gaughan in 15th).

McDowell followed up his strong run at Daytona with a third-place starting position at Auto Club Speedway. He ran well until an engine issue caused a fiery halt to his night.

At ACS, five rookies finished in the top 20, with Gaughan leading the way in ninth.

That's a look at what's happening around the Nationwide Series this week. Enjoy the two-week hiatus and be ready for some more racing at Bristol on March 21.


Editor's note: Come join the newest NASCAR Community on Bleacher Report—The Nationwide Series Community, a place where we talk about everything Nationwide. The good, the bad, and everything in between. Any comments or questions about the Series? Feel free to let me know.