2010-11-25 / Sports

Edwards Wins Race, Johnson Claims Championship

By Gerald Hodges THE RACING REPORTER

Carl Edwards Carl Edwards HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Carl Edwards led 189 of the 267-lap Ford 400 Cup race on the way to his second consecutive victory, while Jimmie Johnson, who finished second, coasted to his fifth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.

“What a great way to finish the season,” said Edwards. “If we can start like this next year, we’ll have a real shot at the championship.”

Johnson’s 2010 Sprint Cup championship is the 13th for Hendrick Motorsports across NASCAR’s three national series, extending the team’s all-time record. Richard Childress Racing ranks second among owners with 11 combined titles. In the car-owner category, Hendrick has won 10 titles in the Sprint Cup Series and three in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Hendrick Motorsports also has won a NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship, which came in 2003.

Jimmie Johnson Jimmie Johnson “I’m proud to be in this position,” said Johnson. “This year we showed what this team was made of. When we didn’t have the greatest speed, our team took over and made up for it with great calls and fast pit stops.”

Denny Hamlin, who finished 14th in the race, and second in points, went into the race as the leader, but early on, his car slid up the track and into the No. 16 driven by Greg Biffle. Hamlin slid down into the infield grass, but he was able to continue. His crew spent the remainder of the race trying to get him back up to speed, but he was never a factor to win.

“I’m disappointed,” said Hamlin. “Our car was lightning fast. The thing with the 16 car just knocked it out. It wasn’t the same the rest of the day. We held on as best we could. It was just circumstances, but we had a great year.”

Harvick had his problems also. He finished the race third, as well as third in final points. He came down pit road too fast during a caution. On the way out of his pits, he hit one of Kasey Kahne’s crewmembers, who had to be taken to the hospital. Harvick was forced to go to the tail end of the field on the restart for speeding.

“We went down swinging,” said Harvick. “We came here to win. We did what we had to do. All in all, we did what we wanted to do, except win the race.”

Late in the race Kyle Busch slid up the track in front of Harvick’s No. 29. Harvick never let off the gas and bumped Busch’s No. 18, sending him crashing into the infield wall, and out of the race.

“He drove me like a clown all day long,” Harvick continued.

But Busch didn’t see it that way.

“It was unfortunate,” said Busch, who wound up 32nd. “Apparently he is a guy that doesn’t have his head screwed on right today. I really hate this for my guys. They deserve something better than to come up to the last race of the season and have something like this happen.”

Jeff Gordon lost an engine in his No. 24 and wound up with a DNF.

Aric Almirola finished fourth, followed by A. J. Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle.

Final top-12 Chase standings: 1. Johnson-6622, 2. Hamlin-6583, 3. Harvick-6581, 4. Edwards-6393, 5. Kenseth- 6294, 6. Biffle-6247, 7. Stewart 6221, 8. Kyle Busch-6182, 9. J. Gordon-6176, 10. Bowyer-6155, 11. Kurt Busch- 6142, 12. Burton-6033

Gibbs racing claims Nationwide owner championship

For the third straight year, Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) won the NASCAR Nationwide Series owner’s championship. And for the third straight time, it was Kyle Busch who delivered the title.

The driver of the No. 18 Toyota Camry for JGR did it in style too, winning the season ending Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to collect his recordbreaking 13th Nationwide Series victory of 2010 and the 43rd of his career. It was another dominant drive, as Busch led seven times for a race-high 153 laps.

“Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and the guys prepared a great racecar back in the shop, along with all the chassis guys, the body hangers and the engine group too, that gave us a racecar to come out here and put up front,” said Busch, who ran just 29 of the series’ 35-race schedule, and despite yielding the seat of the No. 18 Toyota to JGR driver Brad Coleman in six races, still finished third in the driver’s points standings. “We qualified second to Joey (Logano, JGR teammate and driver of the No. 20 Toyota) and we were able to prevail and get the job done.”

Busch ends the 2010 Nationwide Series season with three poles, 13 wins, 22 top fives, 25 top 10s and 2,229 laps led. His win tally surpassed the previous singleseason win total of 10 originally held by Sam Ard and tied by Busch in 2008. Busch’s 9,466 career laps led is an all-time high, surpassing Mark Martin’s previous record of 8,082 laps.

Busch now has 86 victories across NASCAR’s top three divisions (Sprint Cup – 19; Nationwide – 43; Camping World Truck – 24).

Finishing .850 of a second behind Busch in the Ford 300’s runner-up spot was Kevin Harvick, while Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne rounded out the top five. Carl Edwards, Logano, Brendan Gaughan, Paul Menard and Jason Leffler comprised the remainder of the top 10.

Final top-10 leaders: 1. Keselowski-5639, 2. Edwards- 5194, 3. Kyle Busch-4934, 4. Allgaier-4679, 5. Menard- 4467, 6. Harvick-4389, 7. Bayne-4041, 8. Logano-4038, 9. Leffler-3941, 10. S. Wallace- 3940

Busch wins Truck finale

Kyle Busch took the lead on a restart with four laps to go, then ran away from Ron Hornaday to win the Camping World truck series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

It was the eighth victory of the season for Busch, and he clinched the owner points title for his first-year team.

Todd Bodine finished fourth after clinching the drivers championship last week at Phoenix.

“Well, you know, first I never thought I’d be a onetime winner, let alone a twotime winner, so that’s a pretty big honor for us,” said Bodine

“We’re proof that the never give-up attitude works because last year we should have gave up. I mean, it was a pretty bad year.”

“To come out of here champions with really no sponsor, these two guys on the end with their brother, Rick, made the commitment to this team last winter that they were going to race the 30 truck. They were going to fund it out of their pocket. They were going to make sure that we had enough to do to go win races and to race for a championship, and they had that kind of faith in Junior and myself and our team to put their money where their mouth was and we went out and did what they asked us to do, and that’s win races and win the championship.”

Final top-10 points leaders: 1. Bodine-3937, 2. Almirola 3730, 3. Sauter-3676, 4. Crafton-3547, 5. Dillon-3377, 6. Peters-3383, 7. Hornaday- 3310, 8. Skinner-3256, 9. Starr- 3170, 10. White-2979.

Racing trivia question. Richard Petty has 200 Cup wins, the most of any driver. Which driver has the second most number of wins?

Last week’s question: Which Cup team does Kevin Harvick drive for? Answer. The No. 29 Richard Childress Chevrolet.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at : hodges@race500.com.

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