Winners: 2011 NASCAR Champions

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Austin Dillon
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Tony Stewart

Monday, August 16, 2010

Good Weekend for Point Leaders

This past weekend in NASCAR was a good one for the guys atop their respective point standings in the three national touring series -- it marked just the sixth time in history that all three point leaders won races in their respective divisions in the same season -- since 1995, when the Camping World Truck Series came into being.

Todd Bodine, who holds a 231-point lead over Aric Almirola in the Camping World Truck Series, took the Too Tough To Tame 200 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night for his third win of the season.

Brad Keselowski defended his 2009 Nationwide Series win at Michigan International Speedway, taking the Carfax 250 in dominant fashion for his fourth win of the year -- extending his points lead over Carl Edwards to 347 points in the process. His worst finish of the season is 21st, when Keselowski ran out of fuel late in Chicagoland.

And of course, Kevin Harvick took the Carfax 400 at Michigan on Sunday for his third win of the season. Harvick, who now has 30 bonus points for when the Chase for the Sprint Cup starts, holds a 293-point lead over Jeff Gordon.

This is the latest in a season that all three point leaders have won in the same weekend.

All three drivers showed this past weekend why they're the points leaders in their respective series. Bodine has been consistent throughout the season, recording 12 top-10s and 11 top-5s in 15 starts, while Keselowski is close to giving car owner Roger Penske his first NASCAR championship thanks to four wins, 17 top-5s and 20 top-10s in 23 starts.

Harvick has been by far the most impressive of the bunch, given how he struggled in 2009. In 23 starts this season, Harvick has 11 top-5s and 16 top-10s.

Harvick's win at Michigan was his first at a non-restrictor plate track since Phoenix in 2006, and Harvick served notice that he will be a title threat come Chase time, even if others want to make Denny Hamlin or four-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson the favorite.

Bodine and Keselowski are likely to win their titles going away, barring something out of the ordinary, and Harvick would be cruising to his first title as well were it not for the Chase. But that doesn't make what this trio has accomplished -- both throughout the season and this past weekend -- any less impressive.

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