Friday, August 27, 2010
Race Preview: Nationwide Series from Montreal
So-called road course ringer Marcos Ambrose hopes to run well over the weekend, as Montreal has been particularly tough for Ambrose. In his three starts he was driving the fastest car, led the most laps, but did not come home a winner from any appearance. In 2007 Marcos led 37 laps before getting into trouble with Robby Gordon and finishing seventh on lap 75 after a green-white-checker finish. 2008 found Ambrose leading 25 of a rain-shortened 48 lap event but lost the lead after speeding on pit road and serving a penalty.
Jacques Villeneuve and Brad Keselowski are another pair to watch this weekend for strong performances. The pair finished fourth and fifth, respectively in 2009. Villeneuve has much experience in road course racing in multiple racing series. Keselowski is coming into the weekend as Points Leaders, 313 ahead of who else but Carl Edwards. After a win two weeks ago at Michigan and getting dumped by Kyle Busch in last week's Nationwide race at Bristol, Brad would love to come out and post another win to increase his points lead.
Another driver who posted strong finishes in road course racing at Watkins Glen earlier in the Nationwide Series is Joey Logano. Joey took home a second place finish a few weeks ago at The Glen but has not posted good finishes previously at Montreal. Logano did not race in last year's Napa Auto Parts 200, was taken out of competition in 2008 by an accident, and did not participate in the 2007 running at Montreal. With little experience at this track, that could hurt Logano's chances to move up from his 11th place spot in the Nationwide Points Standings.
What it comes down to is that this could be anyones race, and it should be a good one among competitors. Edwards and Keselowski are both contenders, but with both still on probation for their run-ins earlier in the season it is unlikely that the two will be the cause of any fireworks on Sunday afternoon. I expect a clean race from both drivers.
Although racing in the rain is allowed at Montreal, there is little chance of rain in the area forecast for the weekend. With a 20% chance of rain Saturday and Sunday and temperatures expected to be in the mid-80s weather should not play a factor in the weekend event. Catch Nationwide practice Saturday at 11:30 a.m., Qualifications at 5 p.m. Saturday, and the race on Sunday at 2 p.m. All coverage of this weekend's NASCAR Nationwide Series Napa Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge from Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal will be aired on ESPN2. There will also be an untelevised Practice Session Saturday morning beginning at 9 a.m. that can be followed on NASCAR.com
Photo 1: http://nationwide.nascar.com
Photo 2: Kent Holloway www.kentholloway.net
Photo 3: www.nascar.com
Photo 4: http://sports.espn.go.com