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Through all the shuffling that took place in the offseason, NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers Sam Hornish Jr., Justin Allgaier, Brian Scott and Elliott Sadler all found themselves with new crew chiefs – changes that have paid off so far. After two races, all four drivers sit atop or near the crest of the standings.
As the series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Saturday’s Sam’s Town 300, three of the drivers finished in the top 10 in last year’s visit to the track: Sadler (third), Allgaier (eighth) and Hornish (ninth).
Hornish, tied atop the points lead with Allgaier, welcomes veteran crew chief Greg Erwin to the No. 12 Penske Racing team. Most recently, Erwin sat atop Aric Almirola’s No. 43 NSCS war wagon for nine races in 2012. In 252 races between the NSCS and NNS, Erwin’s drivers have accumulated five wins and 41 top fives, the most recent a second-place finish in the 2013 season opener at Daytona with Hornish. Hornish placed seventh last weekend in Phoenix.
Heading into the season, Allgaier and his No. 31 Turner Scott Motorsports team were paired with veteran crew chief, Scott Zipadelli. In 2012, Zipadelli worked with eight drivers in the NNS. In seven seasons, his drivers have racked up 48 top-10 finishes in 187 races.
After only two races, the pairing already has two top-seven finishes.
During the offseason, Scott moved to the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, where he teamed up with Phil Gould, a rookie crew chief in NASCAR’s national series. Through two races, the Scott-Gould combination, currently third in the standings (-8), has two top-10 finishes.
While Sadler, fourth in points (-10), certainly has the experience that comes with success, the runner-up the past two seasons enters the season working with first-time crew chief Chris Gayle. Already the collaboration is paying off with a top-five finish in last weekend’s race.