Nationwide Series DuPont Pioneer 250 Preview

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Nationwide Series drivers are headed out to Iowa Speedway this weekend, so here are a few fast facts and notes to preview the event.

Next Race: DuPont Pioneer 250

The Place: Iowa Speedway

The Date: Saturday, June 8

The Time: 8 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN, 7:30 p.m. (ET)

Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90

Distance: 218.75 miles (250 laps)

Two Teams Approach Iowa Success Differently

One driver has never put down a lap at Iowa. The other driver takes over for a driver who won three consecutive races at the 0.875-mile track in Newton, Iowa.

These are two drivers JR Motorsports and Roush Fenway Racing will be fielding during Saturday’s DuPont Pioneer 250 at Iowa –Regan Smith and Trevor Bayne, respectively.

Brad Keselowski, who drove for JRM in 2009, won the inaugural series event at the track that season. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove the No. 6 RFR car to three consecutive wins at Iowa, sweeping both events in 2011 and winning the spring race last year. Both years, he also took home the series titles.

In 114 races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Smith, the driver of the No. 5 JRM Chevrolet, has never competed at the site of this weekend’s race. The New York native, who currently holds a 27-point advantage over Sam Hornish Jr. in the standings, arrives with a streak of nine consecutive top-ten finishes, dating back to the Las Vegas race in March.

At the three tracks with similar lengths to Iowa – Phoenix (one mile), Richmond (.75 mile), Dover (one mile) – that the series has already visited in 2013, Smith has finishes of 11th, fifth and ninth, respectively.

Bayne, who is coming off sixth- and fourth-place finishes over the past two races, has done an admirable job in replacing Stenhouse in the No. 6 RFR Ford. Through 11 races, the Tennessee native has three top-fives, five top-tens and one pole.

In three career starts at Iowa, he has finishes of fifth, 25th and 26th. By piloting Stenhouse’s old car this weekend, perhaps Bayne will be able to replicate some of the past driver’s successes at the track.

Stenhouse was promoted to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for 2013. In 2011, Stenhouse’s two victories at Iowa were his only two en route to his first championship. His Iowa win in 2012 was the third of his six victories that season.

Iowa’s First NASCAR Winner Logano Returns

On May 20, 2007, history was made in the small town of Newton, Iowa. On that day, NASCAR came to town and has remained a mainstay ever since.

By the time the NASCAR K&N Pro Series race that combined the East and West factions of the series finished, NASCAR’s inaugural jaunt to the .875-mile track was a success and a youngster by the name of Joey Logano stood victorious.

Logano went on to win that year’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title on the strength of five wins and 10 top-five finishes in 13 races.

This weekend, the now-NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular returns to Iowa and will be pulling double-duty by competing in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series DuPont Pioneer 250 at Iowa and Sunday’s Party in the Poconos 400 Presented by Walmart at Pocono Raceway.

The Iowa race will be Logano’s first appearance at the track in one of NASCAR’s three national touring series. Last year, Logano won a series-high nine races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series while only competing in 22 of the 33 events. He’s currently ranked 18th in points in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Also worthy of notice…

It will be a homecoming of sorts this weekend for NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Michael Annett (Des Moines) and Joey Gase (Cedar Rapids). In six starts at Iowa, Annett’s best finish is a fourth place in 2012. Gase has competed in three races with a best finish of 20th. This event will feature a new winner as Ricky Stenhouse, who won the first two editions of this race, has moved up to a full-time ride in NSCS.

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