With the Texas Motor Speedway hosting all three of the main NASCAR series this weekend it is going to be a busy weekend indeed for some of the drivers.
Eighteen of them are doing double duty in both the Sprint Cup Series and the Nationwide Series, assuming they all qualify for both races and four drivers are doubling up in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series whilst just one driver, Elliott Sadler is combining the Sprint Cup and Truck races.
And then there are the two brave souls who are running in all three races, Kyle Busch and Aric Almirola.
Almirola is currently second in the standings in the Truck Series, a full 216 points behind series leader Todd Bodine and it will need some mishap to befall Bodine for him not to win the championship as all he needs is a 13th place in each of the last three races. In Almirola’s twenty-two starts this season he has managed two wins and a respectable 18 top ten placings. In the Nationwide Series he has only run a partial five race schedule so far producing one top five and three top ten finishes and in the Sprint Cup again he has only run in six races, recently inheriting the #9 Budweiser Ford seat vacated by Kasey Kahne. 2011 will see Almirola run a full schedule in the Nationwide Series driving the #88 car for JR Motorsports, feeling it will be better to drive a potential race winning car in the second division rather than a second rate car in the premier Sprint Cup series.
Kyle Busch’s stats in both the Truck and Nationwide Series are impressive. In the Trucks he is currently 16th in the championship despite only starting thirteen of the twenty-two races, those thirteen starts producing six pole positions and, even more astonishingly, six wins. If he had run a full series Bodine’s strong hopes of taking the title would have been seriously diminished.
In the Nationwide Series Busch is in third place in the standings, 705 points behind championship elect Brad Keselowski and 220 behind second place Carl Edwards but again Busch is the one who didn’t run a full schedule. And here’s a statistic for you. Busch has won twelve races in the series this year which matches the combined wins of the other seven drivers in the top eight. Again, if he had run a full schedule who is to know where he might have finished in the title race. And, of course, Busch is also one of the drivers in The Chase in the Sprint Cup Series, fifth in the standings and to all intents and purposes out of the reckoning with a deficit of 230 points. In that championship he has produced two pole positions, three wins and 10 top five finishes. That is twenty-one wins in all series this year. Love him or loathe him you have to acknowledge that he delivers the results.
It’s worth looking at the weekend’s schedule for Busch and Almirola. On Thursday they had two practice sessions and then qualifying for Friday evening’s race, Busch qualifying 3rd and Almirola 12th. Friday they will have two Nationwide practice sessions at 10.00 and 11.40 ET, then practice followed by qualifying in the Sprint Cup cars at 13.00 and 16.30, back to the Nationwide car for qualifying at 18.35 and finally the Camping World Truck race at 20.30.
Saturday will be easier for them with just – just! – practicing in the Sprint Cup cars, including happy hour, at 09.30 and 11.00 followed by the Nationwide race at 12.00. Sunday will be a quiet day with only the 500 mile Sprint Cup race at 15.00 to trouble them.
Discounting practice laps these two drivers, assuming they finish all three races, will race for a total of 682 laps and a distance of 1,023 miles across the weekend.