Is Winning a Nationwide Championship the Best Option?

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst INovember 24, 2009

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 21:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Z-Line Designs Toyota, poses with the race trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship and the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2009 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jason Smith/Getty Images

Dale Earnhardt Sr. won the first ever Busch Series race as it was called back in 1982 as a full-time cup driver; and since then many of the cup drivers have used the series to either get more valuable seat time, or to use as an extra practice session while familiarizing them with a track that maybe they were having problems with.

Bushwhacking, as it is known, has come under stream of controversy in today’s racing world, because many of the fans feel that it’s taking away from the up and coming drivers who use this series as stepping stone to advance to the cup level.

Each season we are witnessing more and more cup drivers who are not only using the series to gain more experience, but also adding the series on their schedules in hopes of winning the championship.

Kevin Harvick became the first full-time cup driver to win the championship back in 2006, followed by Carl Edwards in 2007, Clint Bowyer in 2008, and the most recent being Kyle Busch in 2009 becoming the series 21st champion.

Busch was also one of the drivers whose goal this past season was to race in the Nationwide series as it is known today, in hopes of winning the championship which he did. Busch also joined Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Brian Vickers, and Martin Truex Jr. as the only full time cup drivers to win a championship and not make the chase with Carl Edwards being the only driver to do so.

Now looking back at all the past Nationwide champions who have had their moment of glory, was there a price to pay for being able to say that you were the best for that one season?

And just how beneficial has the series been for the cup drivers who choose to put that extra piece of hardware in their trophy cases at home, and what cost did it come to them?

Well in the world we live in there is a thing called the law of averages, and for those who believe in this theory it can funnel into areas of our lives if we allow it to.

There are both good and bad sides to this theory, and from the looks of things the bad side has entered into a few aspects of the NASCAR series.

Now looking back at the past 21 Nationwide champions, only one driver has been able to find the good side of this theory, and capitalize on his good fortunes when he hoisted that nice bright shiny trophy above his head for all the NASCAR world to see.

In the 27 year history of the Busch/Nationwide series, Bobby Labonte has been the only driver that has won a championship in Nationwide series (1991), and the Sprint cup series (2000).

Not even two time winners Jack Ingram, Sam Ard, Larry Pearson, Randy LaJoie, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, or Martin Truex Jr. could accomplish what Labonte was able to.

Carl Edwards, who is a past Nationwide champion, almost joined Labonte in 2008 when he finished second to Jimmie Johnson for the Sprint Cup Championship, and Harvick has only won one Sprint cup race since his championship back in 2006.

Winning a Nationwide, or any championship in a lower tier series for that matter, is supposed to be a stepping stone for much greater success with the accolade being the proof that you have what it takes to move up to the next level.

But instead becoming a Nationwide champion has taken on a life of its own, while likening it to a driver signing his own death certificate from becoming a Sprint Cup champion.

The law of averages, for some unseen reason, does not want to play fair when it comes to allowing a driver the chance to embrace two of NASCAR’s most coveted trophies.

Who will be the next driver that will dance with the law of average's, and gamble with their own destiny?