The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Breakdown: Arizona 200 by Toni Montgomery -- Monday November 14, 2005

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Frontstretch Breakdown: Arizona 200

Toni Montgomery · Monday November 14, 2005

 

In A Nutshell: Give Carl Edwards a 10 for that victory flip. Edwards was one of the contenders all day and put his competition away at the end in Saturday’s Busch Series race at Phoenix. This guy is on a roll for sure. That flip was probably so good because practice makes perfect, and Edwards has had plenty of practice between his four Cup wins and five more in the Busch Series this season. Edwards was followed by Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, and Greg Biffle.

Who Should Have Won: Edwards. Can’t argue much with Carl Edwards, since he was one of the frontrunners all day. That being said it should be noted that Clint Bowyer raced from a 32nd place starting spot to second place at the end of the day. Bowyer definitely had a rocket ship under race conditions, but couldn’t do anything with Edwards once he reached him, giving further proof that the guy that should have won did.

Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend:

1) Can Clint Bowyer catch Martin Truex Jr. for the championship?

Truex once enjoyed a 200-point lead, but a streak of bad luck chipped it down to almost nothing after the Dover race in late September. He’s since recovered to put some distance between himself and second place Bowyer, but Bowyer has once again been chipping that margin down. As it stands, Truex must now finish 12th or better at Homestead to win the title, no matter what Bowyer does. This battle isn’t over yet.

2) A mere five Buschwhackers were in this race, if you don’t count Denny Hamlin or Kenny Wallace (I still consider them Busch regulars). Of course, four of those Buschwhackers finished in the top five, including the winner. Is the task of trying to keep up with these guys getting to be too much for the Busch regulars?

3) There is a large and impressive rookie class in place for the Cup Series next year, with all of them coming from the current Busch ranks. Has the prospect of having to keep up with Buschwhackers every week prepared these drivers better perhaps than those before them?

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:

  • Stephen Leicht has signed a three-year development deal with Robert Yates Racing, and showed his potential with a 15th place finish in only his second series start.
  • With the announcement that J.J. Yeley will be joining teammate Denny Hamlin in NASCAR’s top ranks, five of the six Busch Series regulars in the Top 10 are moving up to Cup rides next season and will contend for the rookie title in that series.
  • Clint Bowyer finished second to Martin Truex Jr.’s sixth place result, and chips down Truex’s lead in the championship race just a little bit more. The margin now stands at 64 points with one race remaining. The only change in the entire Top 10 in Busch points was for 10th place. Greg Biffle moves up one spot into tenth, as David Stremme falls back two spots to 12th. J.J. Yeley also bypassed Stremme, moving from 12th to 11th heading into Homestead.

Quotable:
"I think the No. 23 just got loose on the inside of me and we got together. The Great Clips team gave me a great car today, and I think we would’ve had a good finish. We’ve had a rough couple of races, so hopefully we can have a good run next weekend and end the season on a positive note." Anthony Foyt IV
"It was really neat to be here for the NASCAR weekend. To see all the cars, all the sponsors. That was really eye-opening. NASCAR is certainly successful. All of the open wheel guys were asking me how I was adjusting to NASCAR, and I kept telling them this is like nothing I have ever done before." Adrian Fernandez who is a resident of the Phoenix area
"Our pit stops were good until the one that counted, and we spilled a bunch of fuel there and the tire changer went down. He had no grip, and I think we lost a ton of positions there. We debated on doing two tires, but our pit stops had been good and our car reacted good on four, so we were going to shoot for four. With the way it turned out maybe we should have done two, but hindsight is 20/20." David Green
"It’s not bad, and I think we’re pretty pleased. In my mind, as long as the owners are happy, I’m happy. I felt like I was doing what I could with what I had, but then again, I haven’t been in these cars very much, so I don’t know how much you can get out of them exactly, but I think I’m getting closer. We had a good run today. In the middle of the race the car wasn’t bad. We fought tight all day and we made an adjustment on the last stop and it actually made the car worse. To come home 15th with all of these Cup drivers here, that wasn’t too bad." Stephen Leicht
"My car was so loose all day, it was unbelievable. We missed one adjustment. We couldn’t find a wrench to make the wedge adjustment on one of our stops. That was as loose as I could drive a car. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m having a blast." Carl Edwards

Next Up: The Busch Series travels to Miami for the Ford 300, the second part of a NASCAR tripleheader season finale weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Television coverage starts at 4:00 PM ET Saturday on TNT.

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