Published June 14, 2012
| Sports Network
Philadelphia, PA – Heading into Saturday's 250-mile race at Michigan International Speedway, just 14 points separate the top-three drivers in the Nationwide Series standings.
Elliott Sadler holds a 12-point lead over defending Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr., while Austin Dillon, who is a rookie in the series this year, is just two markers behind Stenhouse.
After winning the May 20 race at Iowa, Stenhouse held a 34-point advantage over Sadler, but Stenhouse has finished 26th and 32nd in the past two races, allowing Sadler to regain the points lead.
Stenhouse suffered a broken driveshaft at Charlotte and then crashed in the early going at Dover.
"The past two weeks are definitely not what we wanted," Stenhouse said after his 32nd-place finish in the June 2 race at Dover. "You aren't going to have perfect races every week, but we will bounce back from this and go to Michigan."
Sadler finished fifth at Charlotte and then followed up with a seventh-place run at Dover.
"It's great to take over the points lead again, but it's a long season, so we need to keep fighting to get strong finishes every week," he said. "We really want to win more of those race trophies, and if we can do that, the points should take care of themselves."
Dillon trailed the leader by 43 points after Iowa but has gained momentum since then. He is pulling double-duty at Michigan this week. Dillon will attempt to qualify for the Sprint Cup Series race there, driving the No. 33 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.
"There is a test session for the Sprint Cup Series teams on Thursday, so that will provide us with an opportunity to gain some information before the race weekend officially begins, and I hope that will give our team an extra edge for both the Sprint Cup Series race and the Nationwide Series race," Dillon said.
Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Paul Menard are those Sprint Cup regulars competing in this race. Busch's suspension from NASCAR competition ended on Wednesday.
Logano has the most Nationwide wins so far this season with four. Three of those victories have come in his last four starts.
Since Michigan has recently been repaved, NASCAR scheduled an additional practice session for Nationwide teams on Friday to familiarize themselves with the new track surface.
Forty-three teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Alliance Truck Parts 250.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, June 16. Race: Alliance Truck Parts 250. Site: Michigan International Speedway. Track: two-mile oval. Start time: 3:45 p.m. (et). Laps: 125. Miles: 250. 2011 Winner: Carl Edwards. Television: ABC. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Satellite.