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Nationwide: Villeneuve denied home win

The on lap 66 Jacques Villeneuve had his chance to make a move on Tagliani for the lead after the #30 was just a little too slow out of a corner. Villeneuve got behind him and put his foot down, driving into the back of Tagliani and then accelerating some more so that the #30 spun out. It wasn't any way for the Canadian to make any friends in the NASCAR paddock, that's for sure.

A spin for Mike Wallace brought the field back under yellow again a few minutes later, setting up another restart on lap 73 with Villeneuve now lined up alongside Grand-AM's Billy Johnson. The second row featured current Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr - no fan of road racing but doing surprisingly well here just a week after a top five finish at Watkins Glen - with Brendan Gaughan.

But it was from further back that Alex Tagliani tried to surge his way back to the front in order to have words with Villeneuve. He got passed the second row cars but in doing so sparked off shockwaves of cars bumping and colliding into one another in avoidance: it made for the messiest turns 1 and 2 of the entire race with just about everyone hitting something. Tagliani himself got tapped into a spin by Gaughan, while Jeremy Clements ended up against the barrier to trigger the seventh caution of the afternoon.

That put the race into green-white-chequered overtime, which was a disaster for those cars - including Villeneuve - who had been trying to stretch their fuel all the way from lap 46. But they were all-in now and no one was about to blink now if they could help it, even though the extended safety car periods that had once been their best friend were now their worst possible nightmare.

When the restart came on lap 76, Villeneuve drove it like he had a full tank of gas and jumped away form the pack. There were no messy heroics behind him going into turn 1 this time, with very few people now comfortable with facing a second GWC scenario this late in the day.

But that was what they got. First, Stenhouse Jr. undid all his excellent day's work by spinning into the barrier while trying to close up on Villeneuve for the lead; and elsewhere Derek White spun after getting a bump from Kyle Busch through a corner and Alex Kennedy was also off track as well. An eighth caution, and a second GWC finish attempt loomed.

Surely those early stoppers didn't have enough to carry on now? Villeneuve wouldn't budge from the lead, but second place Billy Johnson had no choice and nor did Austin Dillon. Villeneuve now faced the threat of Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier around him - and they'd all stopped later than he had. Brian Scott was the only other driver at the sharp end to try toughing it out, and his car ran dry before the end and dumped him all the way down to 24th place by the time the race finally ended.

Could Villeneuve somehow prove the exception to the rule and overcome the laws of engineering psychics? He certainly didn't look in any trouble as he shot clear in turn 1, with Allgaier and Hornish both following the leader through on the outside to get the better of Sadler for second and third places.

The home crowd held its breath: would Villeneuve's car run dry as Brian Scott's just had? Not on the first half of the two-lap GWC finale, and Villeneuve was still in charge of the race as they took the white flag. But Allgaier was pulling right up to the back of the #22 and looking for any sign of weakness. When it finally came, it appeared that Villeneuve really had finally run dry and was very slow into turn 6. Allgaier saw his moment and pounced.

But Villeneuve wasn't done, and he took the line into the apex as well. Two cars on the same spot of tarmac at the same time rarely works out well: Villeneuve was bumped wide, allowing both Allgaier and Hornish to get past him. Villeneuve was able to hold on to the spin and rejoin the race behind them, but had no time to catch up to the leading pair who duly claimed the chequered flag.




Related Pictures

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Coors Light Pole sitter Alex Tagliani leads the NASCAR Nationwide Series field to start the NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Justin Allgaier crosses the finish line to win the NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, races to win with Kyle Larson, driver of the 42 Target Chevrolet SS beside him finishing in eighth place Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, is congratulated by his Hendrik Motor Sports teammates Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Panasonic Toughbook Chevrolet SS (left), Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS (center) and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS (right) after his victory Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne joins Gordon, Johnson, and Earnhardt Jr. in the Chase. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Alex Tagliani, driver of the #19 Reese Towpower Ford, leads the field at the start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chevrolet Silverado 250 on August 31, 2014 in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, races Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ford, during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, takes the green flag waved by Evander Holyfield to start the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, qualified for third position Friday, August 29, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Larson is 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick (L), driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, talks to Regan Smith, driver of the #7 TaxSlayer Bowl Chevrolet, in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 29, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, finished fifth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, finished fourth and Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet SS, finished twelfth Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 23, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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SP3 - Unregistered

August 19, 2012 5:58 PM

@Gazza, jv got what he gave out. As long as nascrap continues allow (promote) retarded 'pro wrestling' type of entertainment, this is what their 'racing' will be like.

benignlyindifferent

August 19, 2012 6:37 PM

I remember the good old days of Nascar, when 74 lap races lasted 74 laps, allowing good teams to plan their pit stops, and punting another could result in disqualification, and when a title was decided by points, and not some "chase" that requires rule tweaks almost as often as Moto GP. Yesterday's race, which I watched, reminded me why I quit supporting Nascar several years ago.



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