Saturday, November 21, 2009

NASCAR Nationwide: Kyle Busch Wins Big in Ford 300; Taking Race and Championship

Photo Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

In mid-day qualifying, the #60 Ford belonging to 2008 Ford 300 winner Carl Edwards took the top spot ahead of Ryan Newman and Jeff Burton. In spite of earning pole Carl Edwards knew that his efforts to capture the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Championship were exhausted the moment him and Kyle Busch took the green flag for the Ford 300. Needing simply to start the race, the #18 Toyota of Busch climbed his very first championship in a major NASCAR division. Coming off a frustrating Friday night finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the newly-acclaimed 2009 Nationwide Series champion focused on an improved performance in Saturday's race. While Edwards led the first laps, Busch's #18 Z-Line Toyota quickly charged forward from his 5th place starting position. On a restart from a lap 9 caution for Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch took the lead on lap 12 for the 1st of 7 times during the 300 mile race distance.

While Kyle Busch rode comfortably at the front, Sprint Cup teammate Denny Hamlin (driving the #11 CJM Toyota for this race) would use the finale of the NASCAR Nationwide 2009 schedule to back up a threat he made last week in Phoenix. Holding strong hatred for JR Motorsport's driver Brad Keselowski's aggressive bumping on a lap 157 restart that claimed Hamlin's car, Denny Hamlin exact wording in a post race interview said "There's a lot of guys that have a lot of chips that they're going to cash in, I'm just going to be the first to the pay window". Aptly enough for Hamlin, he found the #88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet on track by lap 36, cashing in his chips on an incident of contact out of the 4th corner. Spinning out Brad Keselowski, the #88 car avoided contact with the walls as he sled down the frontstretch. While Denny Hamlin considered himself entitled to payback NASCAR, having spoken with both drivers following the Phoenix Nationwide race, didn't share Hamlin's logic penalizing the #11 car one lap for the incident. Getting rewarded a rewarded the free pass after a later caution, Denny Hamlin did rebound to a 5th place finish. As for Brad Keselowski, his final race for JR Motorsports ended in 12th position after the early race drama.

On lap 47, Busch's car give up the lead to a suddenly revived Jeff Burton wheeling the #29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Burton held the lead until a lap 81 caution for debris. With the lead changing 20 times through the Ford 300, Joe Gibbs Racing allies Kyle Busch and Joey Logano trading the first position 4 times between lap 86 to lap 101.

As they battled, the Ford Fusion of Carl Edwards set himself in prime passing position taking lap 102 and holding up to the lead for 34 circuits. After 64 caution-free rotations around the Homestead-Miami Speedway, caution flew for the 6th time for the #6 car of Eric Darrell brushing the outer wall. Benefiting from a gain in track position, the deciding restart for lap 163 allowed Kyle Busch able to size up Edwards making the pass one lap later. Surviving a final challenge of a final restart after a lap 186 caution, Kyle Busch blazed to the finish line on lap 200 capturing the last race of the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide schedule and 9th for Busch this season.

Winning it all through the Ford 300, a jovial Kyle Busch finally finds cause to celebrate in what is this young driver's biggest victory in history able to wave both the checkered flag and championship flag after the 2009 campaign.

NASCAR Nationwide Series
Ford 300

  1. Kyle Busch #18 Toyota
  2. Carl Edwards #60 Ford
  3. Jeff Burton #29 Chevrolet
  4. Joey Logano #20 Toyota
  5. Denny Hamlin #11 Toyota
  6. David Ruttimann #32 Toyota
  7. Ryan Newman#33 Chevrolet
  8. Steve Wallace #66 Chevrolet
  9. Scott Speed #99 Toyota
  10. Matt Kenseth #16 Ford

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