Nationwide championship battle moves on to Phoenix

Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Saturday, mile oval. Start time: 3:30 p.m. (et). Laps: 200. Miles: 200. 2010 Winner: Carl Edwards. Television: ESPN 2. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Satellite.

With two races to go, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. holds a 17-point lead over Elliott Sadler. Stenhouse and Sadler are now the only drivers who remain in title contention in the Nationwide Series.

Stenhouse's sixth-place finish coupled with a ninth-place run for Sadler in last Saturday's race at Texas allowed Stenhouse to add two more points to his lead.

"That's good," Stenhouse said. "That's better than where we were when we came [to Texas], and that's really all we can ask for."

As is the case for the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide teams face a lot of uncertainties this weekend at Phoenix, since the track has recently been repaved and reconfigured.

"It may be one of those races that changes the game in the championship standings, and our team is going to do everything we can to make the right adjustments throughout the weekend to have a solid finish before heading to Homestead," Sadler said.

While the fight for the driver's championship has turned out to be a good one, the battle for the owner's title is even better. Just two points separate Joe Gibbs Racing's No.18 team from Roush Fenway Racing's No.60 team.

Jack Roush, who is on the verge of winning his 300th NASCAR race, leads all team owners with nine Nationwide victories at Phoenix. Carl Edwards, driver of the No.60 Ford for Roush Fenway, has won the last three fall events here.

Edwards is one of four Sprint Cup regulars competing in this race. Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski and Clint Bowyer are the others. Logano is driving the No.18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, which is normally occupied by Kyle Busch, who won at Phoenix in February.

NASCAR has lifted its parking directive against Busch, allowing him to participate in this weekend's races at Phoenix. He was not scheduled to compete in the Nationwide event here.

Last weekend, NASCAR suspended Busch from the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races at Texas after he intentionally wrecked Ron Hornaday Jr. in the Camping World Truck Series event there.

Forty-eight teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Wypall 200.