NASCAR Nationwide Series Will Be A Race Till The Finish for 2012 Championship

Randy Sartin-US PRESSWIRE

After a week of hiatus, the NASCAR Nationwide Series made its return at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with four races to go, the battle for the championship will be a tight race to the end.

As the drivers of the Nationwide Series made their way back to the track, the championship battle has now been narrowed down to three competitors. For Elliott Sadler, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Austin Dillon it will be a battle all the way to the finish line at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

With the race weekend at Kansas Speedway fast approaching the battle in the points standings has left little room for error as only 13 points separate the top two. Sadler currently leads the Nationwide field but has to step it up in order to keep the gap between him and Stenhouse.

If either Sadler and Stenhouse want to make it a battle to the end with only two drivers, or basically secure the championship with a bigger gap in points, a win is a must.

Sadler currently holds the top spot in the series. In 2012 he has captured four wins along with 14 top fives and 22 top tens. He has also averaged a 6.6 start and a 7.0 finish. Sadler does have a better average finish than Stenhouse.

Stenhouse, who is racing in his final Nationwide season before moving into the Cup Series, is trying to become a repeat champion. The defending 2011 champion has captured five wins this year, 16 top five’s and 22 top tens. Despite the five wins, he does average a 7.7 finish, a bit less than Sadler. Stenhouse does however qualify better, averaging a 5.6 start.

Although Sadler and Stenhouse are in a tight battle in points, Dillon could be the one who could capitalize on the top two drivers in points if either driver makes mistakes. Dillon is not that far behind in points, with only 29 points separating him from Sadler. He even has a better shot at catching them now that fourth place Sam Hornish Jr. has fallen behind in points, with a bigger gap between him and the leaders.

In his rookie season, Dillon has posted two wins, 14 top fives and 23 top tens. He has also averaged an 8.0 start and a 7.4 finish, right behind his teammate Sadler and a bit higher than Stenhouse.

Dillon is basically on the outside looking in for his opportunity to surprise everyone in the competition. If Dillon were to win a race, it would make it a tight three men race for the title.

If Dillon does not manage to capture the Nationwide Series championship this year, there is a pretty good chance that he could walk out  of Homestead as the 2012 Rookie of the Year.  He currently leads in the Rookie of the Year standings with 65 points over Cole Whitt.

Christy Valdez is a member of the NASCAR Media. Follow her on Twitter @Knowursports and on Facebook at On The Sidelines With Christy

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