Championship drama plays out at TMS

It may be championship weekend this week for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Texas Motor Speedway.

Brad Keselowski has a commanding 485-point lead over Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings. All he has to do is start the last three races of the 2010 season. But a finish of 21st or better in Saturday’s O’Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway will clinch the first NASCAR championship of Keselowski’s career.

Significantly, it will become the first NASCAR championship for team owner Roger Penske. He has won 12 Indy Car national championships and 15 Indianapolis 500 titles through the years – both records – but has never won a NASCAR championship of any kind. The closest Penske has come was 1993, when Rusty Wallace finished runner-up to Dale Earnhardt for the NASCAR Cup Series title.

In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, point leader Todd Bodine can’t clinch at Texas. He maintains a 216-point lead over Aric Almirola following a somewhat disappointing 18th-place finish at Talladega Saturday. Bodine, though, could drive a stake through the heart of his competitors here at Texas. He has won six times at “The Great American Speedway” and has an average finishing position of 6.58. That’s strong.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has an extremely tight three-way point battle going on coming to Texas. Jimmie Johnson holds a razor-thin 14 point lead over Denny Hamlin. Third-place Kevin Harvick is only 38 points out of first. Any of the three could easily leave Texas with the point lead, heading into the final two events of the season.

One championship could be resolved, one championship could become clearer and one championship could be turned upside down this weekend.