Nashville stop beckons Nationwide, Truck series

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series is taking its traditional Easter break, but the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series are wide open this weekend at Nashville Superspeedway. The trucks run at 8 p.m. Friday, and the Nationwide circuit’s 300-miler gets the green flag at 3 p.m. Saturday, giving fans and drivers a schedule that allows them the opportunity to enjoy a racing weekend and still attend Easter services.

The track at Nashville is unusual in that at 1.33 miles long, it’s shorter than most similar intermediate-length tracks, which are around 1.5 miles. And it has a concrete racing surface.

Justin Allgaier, who is second in the Nationwide standings, two points behind his Turner Motorsports teammate Jason Leffler, said on this week’s NASCAR teleconference that the circuit’s first stand-alone race puts him and his fellow Nationwide-only drivers on more even footing with the double-dipping Cup drivers when it comes to tuning their cars for the Nashville track.

“We feel we have the ball in our court because the Cup guys aren’t getting the extra track time every Sunday like they are on a lot of these other race tracks,” Allgaier said.

He went on to say that Nashville does present unique challenges and opportunities.

“Concrete typically will have a lot more grip than the asphalt surfaces,” Allgaier said. “One of the problems we find with the concrete is the edge. When you go over the edge, you push the car too hard, sometimes it’s not as easy to feel that. On the asphalt tracks, if you get a little bit loose, a little bit tight, you have a good feel for it.”

He said that it’s easy to get to the point of being out of control without realizing it until it’s too late.

“On concrete it typically seems you can push it, and you think everything’s good until the breaking point,” he said. “Once you get to that point, you’re almost a lot of times too far gone to be able to realize it. You end up getting yourself in trouble.

“You definitely need to make sure you have a good car underneath you and everything is stable.”

But concrete has pluses, too, like the way it stays consistent even as the temperature goes up and down.

“On an asphalt track a lot of times the track temperature is a big deal and changes the grip levels,” Allgaier said. “Concrete doesn’t seem to have as much of a swing from loose to tight as what asphalt does.

“You definitely have to take all those things into consideration when you go to a track like Nashville.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge for Allgaier and the rest of the Nationwide-only drivers will be trying to outrun Carl Edwards. He has three wins at Nashville, and his average finish there is 4.0.

Hall of Fame list

Five new names have been added to the list of nominees for the 2012 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. They are long-time crew chief and mechanic Leonard Wood, Martinsville Speedway’s founder and promoter H. Clay Earles, driver Bobby Isaac, driver and car owner Cotton Owens and NASCAR official and former Riverside International Raceway president Les Richter.

The nominees, who join 20 already on the list, were selected by a 21-person nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR, the Hall of Fame and track owners from major facilities and historic short tracks.

The inductees will be determined by a 54-member panel that includes the nominating committee, media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors and industry leaders. There also is a 55th vote, from fans who vote online at from April 28 to June 12.


Just days after Greg Biffle confirmed an extension of his contract with his team, Roush Fenway Racing, and sponsor, 3M, another team made a similar announcement. Jeff Burton, his Richard Childress Racing team and sponsor Caterpillar announced a multi-year extension of their contracts. Burton said in a statement that he’s happy to be staying put in the No. 31 Chevrolet. Burton currently is 22nd in the Sprint Cup standings and hasn’t won a race since the fall of 2008 at Charlotte. ... Hendrick Motorsports announced this week that Mark Martin will run the Sprint All-Star race in a car numbered 25 with sponsorship from Farmers Insurance. The throwback paint scheme is based on the red No. 25 cars fielded by Hendrick back in 1986 when driver Tim Richmond and crew chief Harry Hyde won seven races and eight pole positions.