Dollar General 300: Winners and Losers

Patti RodischAnalyst IJuly 10, 2009

JOLIET, IL - JULY 10:  Joey Logano, driver of the #20 GameStop/Wii Sports Resorts Toyota, poses with his crew in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Dollar General 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 10, 2009 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)

After a rainy start to race day, NASCAR Nationwide series was looking to leave its mark on Chicago. With qualifying speeds so tight, the racing was setting up to be some of the best of the night.

If you thought you would see side by side racing you probably just sit tight till Gateway next week.

Check out the first ever NNS winners and losers at Chicagoland Speedway.

Winners

Joey Logano

Joey Logano had the best car all night long. The only time he didn’t was when Kyle Busch was leading. Logano seemed to easily run down Busch when it was time. Logano did lose the lead on pit road and had he not been just a bit too slow.

Logano won last time he raced at Kentucky and that was a mile and half track. It seemed like even though he did tire testing for Goodyear on the cup side taught him a few things for his first visit to Chicagoland.

Logano continued the streak of first time winners at Chicagoland.

Points: Fifth

Kyle Busch

It says a lot when you and your teammate are the only ones leading the race. Busch had a car just about equal to Logano. He was just a bit better on pit road.

But it was pit road that hurt Busch, he elected to pit for two tires late and was able to get close to him until Brian Vickers started battling him and allowed Logano to pull away.

Busch has six consecutive finishes of second or better. Busch was upset but still finishing second to your teammate is not all that bad. Busch stretched his point lead over Edwards.

Busch and Logano keep finishing one-two in the races; it should be called the Joe Gibbs Racing series at this point.

Points: First

Trevor Bayne

At one point Trevor Bayne was two laps down, they took advantage of the wave around, but was still forced to pit under green.They battled their way back onto the lead lap and finished 12th. That was downright impressive.

They didn’t have enough to contend but to come back and finish strong gives them momentum and confidence going into next weekend.

Baynes has the potential to be the face of MWR next season in nationwide series and finishes like this show what he capable of.

Points: 48th

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier didn’t have the best car tonight and only Logano did, but he did something that he needed to do log laps. This was Allgaier first visit to Chicagoland in the nationwide car, he stayed on the lead lap and maintained his position in the standings.

Allgaier is still leading the rookie standings and is quietly having a great year. With steady improvements each week this team is sitting and waiting for one of the top three in the standings to stumble and he could be in the best position.

The key to that is he needs to beat JGR and right now nobody is doing that.

Points: Sixth

Losers

David Ragan

David Ragan is not a series regular, but that car he drove was in the hunt for the owners championship. Ragan didn’t even last 10 laps.

Well he lasted exactly that ten laps. Ragan slammed hard into the wall and immediately said to head to the garage.

After a brief and I mean brief radio conversation, they headed to the garage to work on the car. They needed to fix the damage and get back out there not only to finish the race, but for those very precious points, points that can decide the owners championship.

Doesn't Talladega seem so long ago?

Points: 16th

Brad Keselowski

Brad Keselowski was never really happy with his car. They struggled all weekend long with finding speed and handling. The race didn’t start off so good, they pushed the fuel mileage, they predicted a 61 lap run, and they only lasted 57 laps.

Troubles restarting the car pushed them two laps down. They were never able to recover. They were sitting third in the standings coming in but were a race and half in terms of points behind the leader Kyle Busch. Tonights run was the last thing this team needed.

You can’t make mistakes like this when running for a championship, you think they know this.

Points: Third

Ryan Newman

The night started off promising a top five starting position, but it quickly ended from there. They miscalculated on fuel and ran out completely. Unlike his teammate Keselowski who lost two laps they only lost one lap,  but still they never recovered.

In the end a 22nd place finish was all they could muster in what was thought to be a shot at the win. Newman who has found success at Chicagoland in the past was unable to find that tonight.

Newman hoped to rocket to the front, instead he probably wished he had rocket fuel just to get off pit road.

Points: 53rd

Start and Park

I know the argument for both sides here, the economic times makes it difficult for teams that don’t have the funding or sponsorship to run full races. But when teams are coming out and admitting they are S&P something needs to be done.

If you can’t run at least till half way than don’t show up, it’s harsh but true. If you are going to put up the money for the fees and travel, and then race only enough to cover expenses no reason to show up.

Better yet, NASCAR needs to do something to help teams like this, because the economy isn’t turning around anytime soon and at some point it won’t be just three or four teams unable to compete it will be more.

Final Laps…

Well this race was actually very disappointing. When one organization leads 90% of the laps and the battle for the lead at the end came down to teammates, the rest of the competition needs to step it up.

They should just engrave the trophy now. Either way it’s time for everyone else to get to work.

If it wasn’t for a late race caution, there would have been no drama at the end. The ESPN guys tried to pump up the drama but when you figured it would come down to a JGR driver there is no excitement.

Logano to me is just impressive he has ran 15 of 18 races and sits top five in the standings, he has a legitimate chance of winning this championship. If only he and Busch aren’t finishing one-two every time.

Seven of the top 10 were Cup drivers including the top three finishers. If that isn’t a wakeup call, I am not sure what is. NASCAR needs to really look at somehow limiting the schedule of these double dippers in the nationwide series.

How can you put money into a series that can’t find its own identity?

I guess it is whatever makes you money in the long run though.

Wonder if Manny would like to moonlight at Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes next week heard it made them a lot of money.

Next up is Gateway, cool note Carl Edwards will be doing his annual bike ride to Gateway. Except this year the first leg is a fundraiser for a buddy of his. Nice way to use your “celebrity” and do something good.