NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Busch Series Breakdown: 2006 O’Reilly Challenge 300 at Texas

In a Nutshell: The Busch Series title already squared away, Kevin Harvick is now attempting the challenge of figuring out how many different ways he can win a Busch Series race this season. This time, it was his fuel mileage that held up, as Harvick posted his ninth Busch Series victory of the season in the O’Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway. Harvick’s No. 21 Richard Childress Racing crew could not have figured it more perfectly on their calculators; the tank in their Chevrolet ran dry just as Harvick crossed the finish line. Tony Stewart made his best effort to run down Harvick, but came up just short and finished second, with Jeff Burton, Mark Martin and Ron Hornaday rounding out the top five.

Who Should Have Won: Harvick. If you saw this one, you pretty much know that the only suspense here was whether or not Harvick would have the fuel to make it to the end. Up until the gamble, he pretty much had the field under his control all day. Harvick not only wins for the ninth time, he makes it look easy yet again and shows us just how much luck is in the horseshoe he must have around his neck.

Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend

1) Is Kevin Harvick’s domination of the Busch Series making the races a bore?

I’m sorry, but I have to say it was a snoozer. I spent most of the day flipping channels to watch the much more exciting Breeder’s Cup racing going on at Churchill Downs. As long as it goes fast and turns left I’m pretty happy and over there we even saw a few surprises.

See also
How Many Records Will Kevin Harvick Set With 2006 Busch Series Championship?

2) Did reality finally set in for Juan Pablo Montoya?

Juan Pablo Montoya has given the appearance that adjusting to stock cars will be easy through his first few races, collecting an 11th at Memphis… but Texas worked out quite differently. Montoya had what most would consider to be a more realistic rookie experience this time out.

3) Was the rookie class this season a bust or what?

Danny O’Quinn is fighting for Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors with John Andretti, and yet, he’s also fighting for a ride for next season. Besides the fact that an arguable veteran has been posting the strongest performances among the rookie class, half of them didn’t make it through the season, a sure sign that owners are quickly losing their patience. The real queston is simple: were they just not up to snuff or is it just impossible for a rookie in this series?

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle

Hornaday in fifth is the highest finishing non-Nextel Cup regular, but he’s really a trucker and not a Busch regular either so does that count? If you want to find the highest-finishing full-time Busch-only driver, you have to look at 10th-place Todd Kluever, who is also the Raybestos Rookie of the Race.

Harvick is now trying to see if he can set a record margin for the championship of 1,000 points. His lead currently stands at 834 over second-place Carl Edwards with two races to go. Clint Bowyer, Denny Hamlin and JJ Yeley continue to round out the top five. Paul Menard moves back up to sixth while Kyle Busch drops to seventh. Greg Biffle, Johnny Sauter and Reed Sorenson remain eighth through 10th.

Buschwhacker Watch

Buschwhackers in this race: 14
Starting spots taken by Buschwhackers YTD: 466 of 1,427
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10: 8
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10 YTD: 243 of 330
Races won by Buschwhackers YTD: 31 of 33
Buschwhackers ranked in Top 10 in Busch Series points standings: 8

Quotable

“I was driving my little heart out out there trying to get these guys somewhere in the vicinity of where they deserved to finish. Just had a fun day. We haven’t had too many of them this year. It was nice to get the 3M Ford Fusion in the top 10 where it should be running week in and week out.” – Todd Kluever

“When you run at the front you have a lot cleaner air. There’s not nearly as much air turbulence; you’re not losing your nose and losing your rear and all that stuff. It’s definitely a lot more fun seeing hardly no cars in front of you and all-clear racetrack. That’s fun.” – Stephen Leicht

Next Up: The western swing continues as the Busch Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the Arizona Travel 200. Coverage is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC on Saturday, November 11th.

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