News & Media

Head2Head: More exciting title fight: Nationwide or Truck?

July 23, 2012, ,

Without a Chase to fall back on, there are times the Nationwide and Truck championship battles can end before the fall. But not this year.

After 18 races, just 42 points separate Elliott Sadler, Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Sam Hornish Jr. for Nationwide supremacy. On the Truck side, 35 points separate the top four of Timothy Peters, Ty Dillon, Justin Lofton and James Buescher with 12 races to go. There is no question both series will come down to the final race of the season at Homestead, but which one will be more exciting to watch? Joe Menzer and Bill Kimm have made their picks. Read their thoughts and weigh in with your own in the comments below.

Nationwide or Truck -- more exciting championship battle?


All one has to do is look at the top drivers in the current Nationwide Series points standings to realize very quickly that this is going to be the most compelling of NASCAR's two junior series this season.

Veteran Elliott Sadler, who is trying to win a Nationwide championship and perhaps thrust himself back into a competitive Sprint Cup ride, currently leads the way. But he's followed closely by up-and-coming star Austin Dillon, who trails by just 11 points, and defending Nationwide champ Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who trails by 19. Lurking on the outside but still with a shot at making it into the conversation before it's all over is Sam Hornish Jr., who is fourth in points and currently 42 points back.

It's a great mix of young and old talent. Sadler, a Cup veteran, took a step back two years ago and is proving himself all over again. A championship on his mantle might get him another quality Cup shot. Dillon will be in Cup before too long, but has this year and at least next year to run full-time in Nationwide and solidify his resume before taking the final career leap. Stenhouse already has a Cup ride secure for next season, but would like to successfully defend his title before moving on. And Hornish is still trying to prove he's capable in stock cars after a successful IndyCar career.

So each of these guys has different but ample motivation to mix it up down the stretch as they chase the Nationwide championship this season. It's going to be fun to watch.

Joe Menzer, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

While both the Nationwide and Truck series will likely come down to the final race of the season at Homestead, I think the Truck battle will be more entertaining, just for the simple fact of who is involved.

In the Nationwide Series, we all knew it would be a battle between Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Elliott Sadler and Austin Dillon -- and that is exactly what is playing out. Sure, Sam Hornish Jr. is lingering, but odds are the three favorites in January will be duking it out in November.

But in the Truck Series, there are four guys who haven't come close to smelling success on a national scale, all there in a great 12-race battle for the championship. Timothy Peters' best points finish is fifth, but here he is leading the series and hasn't finished worse than 11th all season. Odds are, he will stumble at least once, and when he does, there are three drivers looking to pounce.

First, the young guns. Rookie Ty Dillon, picking up where his brother left off after collecting the championship last season; Justin Lofton, in just his third full season, setting career highs in every statistical category. And finally James Buescher, who would have been a contender last season if not for missing the second race of the season, winning three times already to vault into the conversation.

There are some exciting, and unexpected, storylines in the Truck Series and the championship battle between Peters, Dillon, Lofton and Buescher will be the more exciting of the two.


The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Season Standings: Nationwide Series | Truck Series