NASCAR Nationwide Series at Michigan 2014: Full Schedule, Standings and Preview

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NASCAR Nationwide Series at Michigan 2014: Full Schedule, Standings and Preview
Molly Riley/Associated Press

The term "Buschwackers" in NASCAR has never been more correct. While the term was coined from the former name for the lower series being the Busch Series, one driver has given the term a new meaning.

On the season, Kyle Busch has a combined eight wins in three different NASCAR circuits. His four Camping World Truck Series victories are paired with three in Nationwide and just one at the Sprint Cup level.

One of NASCAR's favorite villains, Busch has also riled up his team owner, Joe Gibbs, this season at the Sprint Cup level. His 10 top-five results in the Nationwide Series also leads the circuit, as even Brant James of ESPN.com poked some fun at the driver's dominance:

After Busch once again pulled out a win two weeks ago in the Buckle Up 200, the Sprint Cup full-timer will make another start at Michigan. But he'll have to compete with some of Nationwide's best, such as Chase Elliott and Regan Smith, along with another premier series driver in Kyle Larson.

As the Ollie's Bargain Outlet 250 nears, here's a look at the schedule, standings and a preview ahead of the Michigan race.

 

Ollie's Bargain Outlet 250 Information

Where: Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn, Michigan

When: Saturday, June 14, 2 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Live StreamWatchESPN

RadioMRN

NASCAR Nationwide Series Standings
Pos. Name Points Wins Top 5 Top 10
1 Regan Smith 448 1 3 12
2 Elliott Sadler 444 1 5 9
3 Chase Elliott 426 2 6 9
4 Trevor Bayne 421 0 2 10
5 Ty Dillon 414 0 0 9
6 Brian Scott 391 0 2 5
7 Brendan Gaughan 341 0 0 2
8 James Buescher 332 0 0 1
9 Chris Buescher 328 0 1 4
10 Dylan Kwasniewski 303 0 0 1

NASCAR.com

 

Race Preview

Though he only has one win on the season, Smith has been one of the most dominant drivers on the circuit.

His 12 top-10 finishes through 12 starts leads the Nationwide Series. Quite frankly, it's difficult to contend with someone statistically when they won't stop running up near the front.

Not only is he leading the standings, but he's also heading to a track where he won last season. Catchfence.com provides a look at Smith's run so far and a look ahead at this weekend for Smith:

Smith returns to Michigan International Speedway as the defending winner of the track’s 250-mile event. In last year’s race, Smith and then crew chief Greg Ives leveraged pit strategy to lead the final 14 laps en route to Smith’s second win of the season and third overall in NNS competition.

Smith has accumulated stellar statistics driving for JR Motorsports at the two-mile tracks of California and Michigan. He holds one win and three top-10 finishes, leading 14 laps in three starts at those facilities. His average finish in those starts is 4.6.

Following up another top 10 at Dover, Smith is separated from Elliott Sadler by just four points in the standings. The JR Motorsports driver also spoke about his return to Michigan, via Catchfence.com:

I’m excited for Michigan. Heading back there as the defending race winner gives you a lot of confidence. It’s a wide track with a lot options as far as what line you want to run. Typically, the race will go green so pit strategy will definitely come into play, making it anybody’s race to win.

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While Smith certainly comes in as the favorite among full-time Nationwide drivers, two drivers from the Sprint Cup circuit to watch will be Joey Logano and Larson.

Logano comes into the race with the other most recent win after taking the checkered flag in 2012, and he finished just outside of the top 10 last season. After winning an ARCA race and finishing fifth in the Sprint Cup at Pocono, Larson also looks like a contender at Michigan.

Turner Scott Motorsports provides a look at the scene from Pocono for Larson:

Given his recent wins on the Nationwide Series and a second-place result last season at Michigan, expect to see Larson running near the front for much of the afternoon.

Larson along with Chase Elliott are rising stars in the sport. With another great drive at Michigan, both could continue their run in the Nationwide Series and potentially stop the reign by Busch this season.

 

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