NNS: Royal Purple 300 preview

Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR

Information:

Date: Saturday March 24, 2012

Time: 5:30 p.m. ET

Location: Auto Club Speedway, Fontana Calif.

Distance: 150 laps/ 300 miles

Broadcast: TV – ESPN starting at 5 p.m. ET

Radio – MRN and Sirius XM Ch. 90

Analysis:

Kyle Busch is still searching for his first taste of success in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2012. With Bristol in the rearview mirror, the next track where Busch could achieve success is Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

The last three races and five out of the six Nationwide Series races at Auto Club Speedway have all been won by Busch. Joey Logano in the fall race in 2009, was the last time that someone other than Busch won at Auto Club speedway in the Nationwide series.

With five wins at the track Busch leads all active drivers with wins at the big two mile track in California.

As the case has been all year, however, this time when Busch returns to Auto Club Speedway he won’t be driving for the No. 18 Toyota of Joe Gibbs. This week that responsibility will go to Logano.

While Busch has been on a role at Auto Club speedway in the past, this year Elliott Sadler is on a role when it comes to the Nationwide series.

The 36-year-old driver has experienced a resurgence that he was looking for when he moved from the Sprint Cup Series to the lower level Nationwide Series. Sadler has led the points every single week, and he has recorded two wins.

Sadler’s worse finish of the year so far is a third place finish at the season-opening Daytona race and Las Vegas.

After Daytona, Sadler has won a race on the flat mile track of Phoenix and the short track of Bristol. Sadler will try and continue his strong start to the season with another strong run at Auto Club Speedway this weekend.

Last year the Auto Club race was decided between Busch and Carl Edwards, but with Edwards out of the series, that doesn’t mean that the race won’t have a Roush-Fenway Ford competing for the win at the end of the race.

Trevor Bayne is once again entered in the race despite a lack of primary sponsorship for his No. 60 Ford. Currently Bayne sits third in the series points standings.

Bayne’s teammate, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has one race win this season and sits second in points behind Sadler.

By the Numbers:

41—Number of cars on the entry list

28th—furthest back a race winner has started.

8—Most wins by a manufacturer at Auto Club speedway (Ford)

7th–The average starting position of an Auto Club Speedway race winner.

7—The number of Toyota wins in a row.

5—most wins by a driver at Auto Club Speedway (Kyle Busch)

3—number of wins from the pole position.

Entry List:

  1. Mike Wallace
  2. Elliott Sadler
  3. Austin Dillon
  4. Daryl Harr
  5. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  6. Danica Patrick
  7. Tim Andrews
  8. Kenny Wallace
  9. Jeff Green
  10. Brian Scott
  11. Sam Hornish Jr.
  12. Eric McClure
  13. Joey Logano
  14. Tayler Malsam
  15. Brad Keselowski
  16. Robert Richardson Jr.
  17. Benny Gordon
  18. TBA
  19. J.J. Yeley
  20. James Buescher
  21. Justin Allagaier
  22. Brendan Gaughan
  23. Brad Sweet
  24. Joey Gase
  25. Erik Darnell
  26. Blake Koch
  27. Jose Wise
  28. Michael Annett
  29. Mike Bliss
  30. Chase Miller
  31. Scott Speed
  32. T.J. Bell
  33. Jeremy Clements
  34. Tim Schendel
  35. Kyle Busch
  36. Trevor Bayne
  37. Johanna Long
  38. Jason Bowles
  39. Joe Nemechek
  40. Cole Whitt
  41. Morgan Shepherd

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