Bashas Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix

February 26, 2011
by Lee

The desert sun shines down on the NASCAR Nationwide Series Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 in Phoenix today. PIR is a tough flat track that tests drivers throughout the race. Making critical adjustments to the car on every stop will be needed by the drivers in order to be the first to capture the checkered flag.

The green comes out and the race is on. The special flag waver to start the race in the starters stand had to be one of the worst I have ever seen. Flag was all rolled up and he appeared to be going into convulsions as he waved the flag. Kyle Busch rockets into the lead from the pole position to lead early. Leading the race is a familiar site for Busch after Friday night’s truck race. Brad Keselowski lightly slaps the wall with the backend of his car coming out of turn two. Not a lot of damage and he will carry on.

Lap 9, Keselowski does not have any problems with the car after tapping the wall as he moves into third place.

Lap 11 is our first look at Herdanicaship (A.K.A. Danica Patrick) on the track as she moves her car into the 18th position, up from her starting spot of 20.

A side note for the start of this race, only 40 cars started the race today making the race less than a full field.

Lap 43 and Herdanicaship in 18th place is now one lap down. It is not a situation that Herdanicaship is running poorly, but the fact that Busch is just eating the field for lunch. Busch has led all the laps at this point in the race with no cautions having been displayed. The drivers have settled in and are logging laps toward the first pit stop.

Real nice ESPN, the second time they have tried to play radio traffic from the drivers and you cannot hear it. Nothing like the announcers giving commentary on what a driver said when the viewer has no clue what the driver actually said.

Lap 54 and what will likely be a phantom caution comes out for debris. The field is lined up behind the pace car and everyone will be in for tires and fuel. The cars on the lead lap all seem to take four tires on the stop. Kyle Busch beats them all out of the pits and will continue to lead. By the way as well, it was a phantom caution without the broadcast showing us the debris on the track.

The green flag is back out and Busch leads them down into turn one. There are currently 17 cars on the lead lap.

Lap 80 and Busch has to have to nitro in his car. No one has come close to touching him yet. Carl Edwards was running him down around lap 15 of the race, but then Busch rebuilt the lead. This might be another race that is all Busch and only a mistake by him or his crew will lose it.

Is it just me or does Tim Brewer on the ESPN coverage tell us the same thing every week about how to make adjustments to the car?

Lap 98 and the broadcast just showed Kenny Wallace. Kenny is near the top 10 and that is good to see.

Well, if you are a driver running for the Nationwide championship and were hoping to get the bonus points for leading the most laps, not going to happen today. Busch has locked those up by leading all of the laps so far and the race is now past halfway. Oh, Rowdy actually does not get those points because he is running for the Cup championship. Those points go unclaimed for this race.

Lap 105 and the second caution comes out. Keselowski is in the wall with what appears to be a tire down. Just before this, Steven Wallace had been on pit road with a tire down. Mike Wallace also has a tire down. Appears the green flag racing is pushing the limit of the life of the tires. All lead lap cars are on pit road. Four tires and fuel is the order again for the drivers. Busch retains the lead off of pit road. Replay on the Keselowski wreck, he tried to get the car to go through the wall, but the wall held up. Keselowski was out of the car and okay.

Green flag comes back out, and like a broken record playing the background, Kyle Busch jumps back out to the lead. Edwards staid with Busch to the corner, but after that it is all Rowdy Busch.

Lap 131 and Busch continues his dominance in the race. One note at this point in the run since the last caution though. Busch has not put the distance between himself and Edwards on this run as he has done in previous runs. Edwards is not catching him, just not the lead Busch has had in previous runs.

Lap 145 and there are only 15 cars on the lead lap. Herdanicaship is currently doing well and holds the 17th position. Herdanicaship is currently two laps down, but has again shown that she has learned a lot from her first season in the series. She still has a chance to achieve her goal of a top 15 today.

Lap 153 and Trevor Bayne is reporting that his car is overheating. Will try to catch the car in front of him to have the debris come off the grill. Could be rubber build up on the grill as well.

Lap 164 and Bayne has cracked the wall in turn three. Appears to be a tire that has let go that will bring out the caution. The right side of the car is compacted from riding the wall. The team is changing the tires and fueling, but I cannot see this car going being able to maintain the minimum speed. They will go behind the wall. Lead lap cars will make their last pit stop for four tires and fuel. Busch maintains station with Edwards in second. Only 12 cars on the lead lap now.

With 30 laps to go the green flag is back on the track and you know who is leading by now.

Now 20 laps to go in the race and Carl Edwards is glued to the back bumper of Busch. Busch and Edwards are putting on a show at this point in the race. Running side by side until a lapped car made Edwards drop back behind Busch.

Now there are 15 to go and Edwards has dropped back a car length. I agree with the announcers that Edwards is probably cooling his tires to mount a last charge with a few laps to go.

Ten laps to go and Busch has opened a three or four car lead now. Not sure if Edwards really has anything left to make a last charge to the front.

Five to go and Busch is still leading.

No bonus points for leading a lap for any other driver today; Kyle Busch leads them all and wins the race. Busch has raced 350 laps in the last two days and has led over 300 of those laps. Not much to say except that Busch was dominant today and will look for the weekend sweep tomorrow in the Cup race.

Today’s race is the first time since 2003 that a driver in the Nationwide series has led every lap.

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