In A Nutshell: Ryan Newman was in the race. Do I need to say anymore? Newman had the dominant car all day again. Greg Biffle was his main competition and may have been able to win except for a final late caution that tipped it in Newman’s favor. Biffle’s car wasn’t good on restarts and took a few laps to get competitive with Newman’s all day while Newman was strong from the get go. That final caution didn’t allow Biffle enough time to get going so it was all Newman after that. Biffle settled for his eighth second place finish of the season. The rest of the top five were Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, and Paul Menard as the first of the Busch regulars.
Who Should Have Won: Ryan Newman was in the race. Do I need to say anymore? Most of the focus during this race was on the title contenders rather than the leaders but I don’t think we missed much at the front. Newman started and finished first.
Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend
1) With the number of Buschwhackers and full-fledged double dippers (those running full time in both series) growing, what kind of future is there for the Busch Series?
2) What happened to Clint Bowyer’s team? The No. 2 AC Delco squad was on top of their game trying to catch Truex coming into Homestead but just didn’t seem to have much to show when they needed it most. Truex’s team opened the door for them and yet they were unable to walk through it.
3) Was Truex racing a little too aggressively considering the big picture or is that the way it should be, with a potential champion fighting for every inch of ground and trying to win the race rather than just points racing and doing what he needs to do to cruise to the big trophy?
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
Martin Truex Jr. was the guy at a disadvantage this week, having to start in the back after a qualifying crash, but he got it done, racing through the field to finish seventh and capture his second consecutive Busch Series championship. Like much of his season, Truex didn’t have an easy road to get there. He was forced to pit under green with a loose wheel and lost a lap but he put himself in position to get it back. Truex was just too strong for Bowyer, who didn’t have a handle on things until late in the race and followed Truex home in eighth place.
There was perhaps a view of the future of the Busch Series on display. Ryan Moore will be DEI’s newest face if sponsorship can be found for him and he posted a 13th place finish. He was followed by Clay Rogers, new driver of the No. 58, in 14th. Mark McFarland made his debut for his new JR Motorsports team and finished a solid 20th.
Give a call out to A.J. Foyt IV. Foyt moved from open wheelers into his new ride in the No. 38 Great Clips Dodge a few races ago to get a head start on next year but didn’t have much to show for it so far. This week I saw a few things from Foyt that gives me an idea he might be starting to get it. Foyt appeared headed for disaster yet again during qualifying when he came sliding out of turn four with an obviously loose car but he hung onto it and posted a nice qualifying lap for his efforts. He started 11th. Just after the start he had a close call when the No. 14 of David Stremme spun right in front of him, but Foyt looked like an old pro and did some fine driving to avoid that disaster. He encountered a little trouble later but still soldiered on to 24th, his best finish so far. This young man might have some potential.
The only change in the top ten of the final standings is a swap of spots between Paul Menard and Kenny Wallace. Menard, another driver who seems to have finally figured this deal out, moved up to sixth while Wallace dropped to seventh.
Part-timer Greg Biffle held on for tenth place in the final standings despite not running in eight events. The only other driver in the top ten to not run all 35 events was Carl Edwards who missed one race when bad weather forced NASCAR to postpone the race until the next day and it conflicted with Edwards’ Cup obligations.
Carl Edwards is officially the 2005 Raybestos Rookie of the Year for the NASCAR Busch Series.
“His [Ryan Newman] car runs really good off the caution and they really get going well, especially in that Busch car. We always see that, and I knew that he would probably pass me down there in turn one. I drove down in there and just lifted on the throttle a little bit, stuck the nose and held it to the floor all the way around, and he just drove past us like we had a parachute out the back. A couple of laps and these cars start sliding around and we can beat him, but on those short runs, we just can’t run with him.” Greg Biffle
"We could have easily had a top-five finish, but when there was a wreck in front of me, I went low to miss that and messed my fender up on the apron. Then I had radio trouble and didn’t pit one time. Other than that, we had a good car.” Jon Wood on his sixth place result.
"The 1 car just took the air off of us. It’s part of it. It’s really hard to run these cars side-by-side. You just can’t go in there and deliberately try to take the air off somebody. That’s what happens. The car was flying. With the backup car, we went to a totally different setup and had no idea what it was going to do but that thing was absolutely flying. We were going to win that race." Denny Hamlin. Hamlin had a tough day, wrecking his primary cars in both Busch and Nextel Cup qualifying and then his backup car during the Busch Series race.
"I don’t know, you tell me. I’ll just have to watch TV. He spun out and there was a lot of smoke and then it all went to crap. I have no idea." Reed Sorenson, on what happened in the four car wreck that resulted from Hamlin’s spin.
Next Up: The only thing left to do is hand out the season ending paychecks at the Busch Series banquet which will be held on December 9th. See you in Daytona next year!
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