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Category: Nationwide Series

Former IndyCar champ Sam Hornish Jr. wins his first Nationwide race

Sam Hornish Jr., a former IndyCar racing champion who switched to stock car racing four years ago, won his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway.

HornishHis teammate Brad Keselowski finished second, giving their Penske Racing team a 1-2 sweep.

Hornish was a three-time IndyCar champion and Indianapolis 500 winner who struggled after he switched to NASCAR, first in its premier Sprint Cup Series and then in its second-level Nationwide Series.

But Hornish qualified fifth in the Wypall 200 on Saturday, took the lead with about 60 laps remaining and then repeatedly held the lead on several restarts following accidents behind him.

"I cant hardly believe it," Hornish said. "I’m so happy about it. I'm glad I stuck it out [in stock cars]."

Carl Edwards finished third, Joey Logano fourth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. fifth.

Stenhouse holds a 41-point lead in the Nationwide championship standings over Elliott Sadler, who finished 27th after being collected in an accident.

--Jim Peltz in Avondale, Ariz.

Photo: Sam Hornish Jr. celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway. Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Danica Patrick in 8-car crash in NASCAR Nationwide’s opening lap

Danica Patrick was among eight drivers whose cars were involved in a crash on the opening lap of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday.

Danica2Patrick's No. 7 Chevrolet slammed hard into the Turn 3 wall when the wreck occurred in the Wypall 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Other drivers collected in the crash included Brian Scott and Reed Sorenson.

Despite heavy damage to the back of her car, Patrick was able to reach the pits for repairs and she was running 34th, two laps behind the leaders, when racing resumed. She had started the race 25th.

Aric Almirola was the early leader in the 200-lap race, followed by Clint Bowyer, Justin Allgaier and Carl Edwards.

There were concerns about the Phoenix track leading into the weekend because the one-mile oval recently was repaved, and drivers said the new surface was exceptionally slick and that passing would be difficult.

— Jim Peltz in Avondale, Ariz.

Photo: Danica Patrick shortly before the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway. Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand / US Presswire

Travis Pastrana's injuries force him to scrap NASCAR series debut

Travis Pastrana to miss NASCAR debut
Plans for action sports star Travis Pastrana to make his debut in the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Saturday night were scrapped after Pastrana crashed at X Games 17 in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Pastrana, 27, broke his right foot and ankle while attempting jumps on a motorcycle, and NASCAR team owner Michael Waltrip said Friday the injuries precluded Pastrana from competing in the Nationwide race at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

"It was an easy decision to make, just disappointing," Waltrip later told reporters. "The main thing is Travis' health."

Waltrip said the team now was looking at having Pastrana make his Nationwide debut at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Sept. 9 and "he's going to work with his doctors and find out if that's realistic."

Kyle Busch, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and 2009 Nationwide Series champion, was asked about Pastrana's crash as Busch prepared for the Brickyard 400 Cup race Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"If you're coming so close to your [Nationwide] debut ... when you're doing tricks and flips and everything else on motorcycles and backflips and stuff, it's probably not a good idea," Busch said.

-- Jim Peltz, reporting from Indianapolis

Photo: Travis Pastrana crashes during X Games 17 in Los Angeles on Thursday. Credit: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times

Kyle Busch gambles, wins NASCAR Nationwide race at Fontana

Kyle-busch_350 Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday in Fontana after his crew chief gambled on changing only two tires on Busch's car late in the race while other leaders changed four.

Busch's victory in the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway was his second consecutive Nationwide win, and he's won three of the first five Nationwide races this season.

On a chilly, overcast day, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick had the dominant cars for most of the 150-lap race, with Busch running third or fourth.

But when the field was forced to make pit stops with less than 20 laps remaining, Jason Ratcliff, the crew chief on Busch's No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, called for changing only two tires while Edwards and Harvick changed four.

That gave Busch the lead he needed to hold off Edwards and Harvick during the final laps, with those drivers finishing second and third, respectively.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished fourth, Elliott Sadler was fifth and Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne finished sixth.

NASCAR's top-tier Sprint Cup Series races Sunday at Fontana in the Auto Club 400.

--Jim Peltz

Photo: Kyle Busch celebrates with his crew after winning the NASCAR Nationwide race on Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Credit: Will Lester / Associated Press

IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti visits L.A. Live


Dario Franchitti, the reigning IZOD IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500 champion, is coming off a dream season.

His IndyCar Series championship was his second in a row and his third in the past four seasons. His Indy 500 win was the second of his career.

During a visit to the ESPN Zone at L.A. Live, Franchitti talked about how his return to IndyCar racing after a year in NASCAR reignited his passion for motor sports. He also talked about what he would like to accomplish after winning three IndyCar Series championships, two Indianapolis 500s, the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Go to Haddock in the Paddock for more on Franchitti and the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series.


IndyCar's season to end in Las Vegas -- with a $5-million twist

Danica Patrick's NASCAR plans, IndyCar to exit Japan, and a repave in Phoenix

-- Tim Haddock

As Carl Edwards wins NASCAR Nationwide race at Phoenix, Danica Patrick suffers hard knocks


Carl Edwards drove to a dominant victory Saturday in the NASCAR Nationwide Race at Phoenix International Raceway while Danica Patrick took another class in stock-car racing's school of hard knocks.

Edwards, one of several drivers in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series who also compete in the second-tier Nationwide Series, won by five seconds over second-place Kevin Harvick and led 153 laps of the 200-lap race at the one-mile Phoenix oval.

It was Edwards' second consecutive Nationwide victory and his fourth of the season.

Pole-sitter Joey Logano finished third and Brad Keselowski, who has clinched the Nationwide championship, was fourth.

Patrick, the IndyCar driver competing part time in NASCAR this year, started 28th and finished 32nd, seven laps behind Edwards.

On at least two occasions Patrick's No. 7 Chevrolet suffered body damage after she made contact with other cars. In one case, a collision caused her to spin and hit the wall, forcing her to spend several laps in the pits while her crew made repairs.

-- Jim Peltz in Avondale, Ariz.

Photo: Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 60 Ford, on his way to winning the Nationwide Series race Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway. Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images

Joey Logano wins pole for NASCAR Nationwide race at Phoenix; Danica Patrick starts 28th

Joey Logano
set a track record in qualifying to win the pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway.

Logano, also a regular in NASCAR's top-tier Sprint Cup Series, turned a lap of 134.048 mph in his No. 20 Toyota on the one-mile Phoenix oval.

Carl Edwards qualified second, while Justin Allgaeir starts third, Kevin Harvick fourth and Kyle Busch fifth.

Brad Keselowski, who already has clinched the Nationwide championship, qualified 12th.

Danica Patrick, the IndyCar driver who's testing the waters in stock-car racing, qualified 28th in her No. 7 Chevrolet. This will be Patrick's 12th Nationwide start this year; her average finish has been 28.8 in her prior races.

--Jim Peltz in Avondale, Ariz.

Photo: Danica Patrick signs autographs before qualifying Saturday for the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway. Credit: Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press


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