Not only is Ricky Stenhouse Jr. enjoying a 23-point lead in the standings, but the defending Nationwide Series champion is very much looking forward to this weekend's race at Iowa Speedway as well.
Stenhouse will attempt to win his third consecutive Nationwide race at Iowa. His first two victories in the series came there last year. The series added a second date for this 0.875-mile track on its 2011 schedule.
"It would be awesome to win three races in a row at a single track," Stenhouse said. Roush Fenway has strong short and intermediate track programs, and Iowa Speedway has similar qualities of both types of tracks."
The series will run at Iowa again on August 4.
Stenhouse has recorded two wins and eight top-10 finishes in the first nine Nationwide races this season. His victories came at Las Vegas in Texas.
Sunday's 250-lap race at Iowa will mark Darrell Wallace Jr.'s debut in Nationwide. Wallace will drive the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.
In 2010, Wallace became the first African-American driver to win a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race. He took the checkered flag at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, SC at the age of 16 years, five months and 19 days.
Wallace has won six times in 25 K&N Pro Series East races so far. He is scheduled to compete in Saturday's KNPSE event at Iowa.
"We tested in the off-season back in December and early January," Wallace said. "I definitely have got some seat time in the Nationwide car, and it's definitely a lot different than what I'm used to - different tire, different motor. It's all about logging laps. That's what we did. I had a great time and learned a lot about the cars. Just kind of really fit in with the team."
Kurt Busch is the only Sprint Cup Series regular entered in this race. Busch will be competing in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway before heading to Iowa. This will be his first time racing there.
"I had the opportunity in 2007 to participate in a COT [Car of Tomorrow] test session at Iowa Speedway, which was a lot of fun," Busch said. "I know the side-by-side racing action will be competitive for the drivers and entertaining for the fans.
"The all-star schedule back in Charlotte won't allow for me to qualify the No. 54 Monster Energy car, but we have Drew Herring as a teammate this weekend, and he's going to take real good care of the car for me."
Three weeks ago at Richmond, Busch gave Kyle Busch Motorsports its first victory in Nationwide. He has driven his younger brother's car in three races so far.
Forty-three teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Hi-Bred 250.
Jeff Green will continue to drive the No. 14 car in place of the injured Eric McClure, who has yet to be medically cleared by NASCAR following his accident earlier this month at Talladega.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Sunday, May 20. Race: Pioneer Hi-Bred 250. Site: Iowa Speedway. Track: 0.875-mile oval. Start time: 2 p.m. (et). Laps: 250. Miles: 218.75. 2011 Winner: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Television: ESPN. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Satellite.