Sprint Cup Drivers still Dominate Nationwide and Camping World Series

Dale Wilkerson                                           February 2011

Two races into the Nationwide schedule, many fans are wondering where the change is and why does it seem like nothing has changed?
Daytona was won by Tony Stewart with Clint Bowyer in second. Phoenix with the exception of about four laps near the end of the 200-lap event looked like many Nationwide races over the past few seasons, Kyle Busch over Carl Edwards.
Yes I know these four drivers are not eligible for the season championship, but as the Sprint Cup guys continue to compete in these Nationwide races, the series does not have an identity with the fans.
These high dollar teams have the best crews, the best parts, and the best cars leaving the regular Nationwide teams just battling for a top ten finish. And looking into the Camping World Truck season so far, it is about the same story.
Kyle Busch won last Friday at Phoenix while semi-retired Michael Waltrip and the illegal spoiler won at Daytona. Part failure aside, Waltrip winning at Daytona with a part time effort as he heads toward retirement doesn’t bother me as much as Busch’s win at Phoenix.
Granted Kyle has other teams competing in the series, and he may want to drive the trucks out of his KBR shops just to make sure they are competitive. His strong finishes last year, combined with steady finishes by other drivers in his #18 Toyota gave his team the Owners Championship last season.
I don’t want to sound like I am jumping on Kyle Busch. How about the Penske Nationwide Team for instance?
Last season Justin Algaier was the best of the Nationwide only drivers, scoring a win at Bristol and placing inside the top five in the final points. How was he rewarded? He was let go so Brad Keselowski, who won the Nationwide Championship last season, could race in those events again this year.
Bad Brad also racing the Sprint Cup Series and that is the series that he checked off when NASCAR mandated that a driver can only contend for one championship. If Algaier had been retained by the team, the Penske team would have been in the running for the 2011 Championship.
NASCAR still needs to work on this issue of Sprint Cup drivers stepping over to the support series to grab the decent payday from the regular teams. If drivers like Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Kasey Kahne are going to be allowed to run in the truck series, it would be nice to see the field increased from 36 to 43. Both Sprint Cup and Nationwide events start with a maximum of 43 and it would be fair to the truck teams to do the same.
Until the rules change though, look for Kyle Busch to keep ringing up 20+ wins across the top three series in NASCAR.