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Second Fiddle: Around the Busch and Craftsman Truck Series · Cami Starr · Thursday August 24, 2006
With ten races remaining in the 2006 Busch Series season, Kevin Harvick is making a mockery out of the championship standings. So what keeps a driver motivated throughout the remainder of the season when he has a 484 point lead? Perhaps a chance at a piece of NASCAR history.
No driver has won the Busch Series title while running full-time in the Cup Series, a mark that Harvick will most likely achieve this season. Many believe he already accomplished that with his title in 2001, but the fact that he ran one race shy of a full season in Cup that year puts an asterisk on that title for a few. This year he should easily wipe that away. In fact, now that he's poised to make the Chase on the Cup side, he has a decent shot at becoming the only driver to win Championships in both series during the same year.
But the piece of history I'm referring to has nothing to do with the Nextel Cup Series. Given the pace he is on, Harvick is poised to break the record for the largest winning margin in Busch Series history.
Jeff Green, the last driver to win a title for an independent Busch Series team, set the new standard in 2000, when he beat teammate Jason Keller by 616 points to win his first Busch Series Championship. With Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth off in the Cup Series, Green's main competitors were gone. He did have an early battle that season with Todd Bodine, but distanced himself with 14 straight Top 5 finishes, including four wins in a six race stretch.
When the season came to a close, Green had accumulated six wins and an amazing 25 Top 5 finishes, a series record that still stands today. That kind of dominating performance allowed Green to clinch the title at the end of October and by season's end he crushed the previous record for the largest winning margin of 426 set by Sam Ard in 1984.
Flash forward to 2006 and Harvick.
After twenty-five races, Harvick has five wins, 15 Top 5s and 22 Top 10 finishes. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that he has zero DNF's and has raced each of the 4,649 laps run this year.
Green's record number of Top 5 finishes is probably safe, since Harvick would have to finish in the Top 5 in each remaining race this year to beat it, but his winning margin might be in jeopardy. If Harvick and his nearest competitor, Denny Hamlin, continue on the same pace they’ve been setting, Harvick should win the title by 678 points, besting Green's record by 62 points.
But racing is unpredictable. Hamlin or Carl Edwards, who is currently third in the standings, could go on a hot streak and narrow the gap. That puts Harvick in a situation where he has to continue to push if he wants to break Green's record. And since there is no love lost between these two former teammates, don't you think Harvick would love to add that record to his growing resume?
©2000 - 2008 Cami Starr and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
It would be great to see kevin Harvick win the Cup and Busch series in the same season. Pretty good for a west coast driver YEAH go harvick!!!!!!!!!!!
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