BUSCH: Homestead: Season finale preview

* It's A Wrap: 2007 Season; 26 Years Of Busch Sponsorship End At Homestead-Miami * RCR Readies For Fourth Series Owner Championship * Fight To The Finish: Final Spot In Top 10 Still In Question * In The Loop: Series "Who's Who" Impressive At ...

* It's A Wrap: 2007 Season; 26 Years Of Busch Sponsorship End At Homestead-Miami
* RCR Readies For Fourth Series Owner Championship
* Fight To The Finish: Final Spot In Top 10 Still In Question
* In The Loop: Series "Who's Who" Impressive At Homestead

A Final Bow: Series Sponsor Busch Departs After 26 Exciting Seasons

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 13, 2007) -- The list of accomplishments for the nation's No. 2 motorsports series over the last 26 seasons is stellar:
* 803 races;
* 19 driver champions;
* 15 owner champions;
* Over $18 million in point fund contributions.

Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the list will be complete with the running of the NASCAR Busch Series' final race under the Busch Beer sponsorship banner.

Nationwide Insurance will take over as title sponsor for the series beginning next season.

The NASCAR Busch Series will be synonymous with exciting, close-quarters racing, intriguing personalities and as a proving ground for both drivers who chose it as a career destination series, and those who used it as a steppingstone to the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series.

For every recollection of Dale Earnhardt winning the first event in series history in 1982 to Juan Pablo Montoya capturing the victory in front of a thrilled throng of fans in Mexico City last March, to a history-matching driver-owner championship title split this year, there will be a multitude of NASCAR Busch Series memories.

Perhaps Chuck Bown, the 1990 series champion, summed up the legacy of the series best.

"I loved the Busch Series," he said. "It was a heck of a lot of fun. Those were the best years of my career, really. You knew it was serious hard racing because so many of those Cup guys raced with us on a regular basis.

"When you won races or won a championship there, you did something. You made your mark in motorsports."

#@On The Verge: Owner Title To RCR; Who's The Odd Man Out Of 10th?

The second split driver-owner championship in NASCAR national series history will be officially recognized Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway even though both will have been claimed before the start of the race.

Carl Edwards (No. 60 Scotts Ford) will officially raise his driver championship trophy while the No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet of Richard Childress Racing will claim the owner title once the car settles into its starting spot. Both officially receive their respective awards after the Ford 300.

Even though he re-claimed the 10th spot from Mike Wallace (No. 7 GEICO Chevrolet) after a second-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway, Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Dish Network Ford) dropped back to 11th following a 25-point penalty due to a post-race height infraction. Wallace jumped back into 10th, but is only 14 points ahead of Kenseth.

Marcos Ambrose (No. 59 Kingsford Ford) remains in a nerve-racking position. He's in eighth place, but has just a 44-point cushion separating him from a fall out of the top 10. Additionally, Jason Leffler (No. 38 Great Clips Toyota) is hanging on to a seven-point lead over reigning series champion Kevin Harvick (No. 21 AutoZone Chevrolet) for third place in the final standings.

In The Loop: Series, Season Finale Ripe With Familiar Names And Stout Credentials

Not only is Saturday's NASCAR Bush Series field exploding with name recognition, the statistics at Homestead-Miami Speedway behind those names are equally impressive.

The entry list features the all-time series wins leader Mark Martin (No. 5 Sta-Green/Lowe's Chevrolet) and four series champions Bobby Labonte (No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet); Kevin Harvick (No. 21 AutoZone Chevrolet); Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford) and Carl Edwards (No. 60 Scotts Ford).

And all have had past success at Homestead.

Martin, the series wins leader with 47, has finished in the top five in six of his seven Homestead races. In the 2005 event, a third-place finish, Martin scored a Driver Rating of 120.5, an Average Running Position of 3.7, had 22 Fastest Laps Run and spent all but three of the Laps in the Top 15.

Harvick, Biffle and Edwards have all raced in each of the last two Homestead events and all have tremendous Loop Data stats.

The breakdown of the three champions:

*Harvick has a Driver Rating of 113.5, an Average Running Position of 6.1, 30 Fastest Laps Run and 383 Laps in the Top 15 (out of a total of 400).

* Biffle has a Driver Rating of 105.4, an Average Running Position of 17.3, a series-high 71 Fastest Laps Run and 219 Laps in the Top 15.

* Edwards has a Driver Rating of 106.6, an Average Running Position of 6.4, 21 Fastest Laps Run and 383 Laps in the Top 15.

* Labonte has two career series starts at Homestead, finishing second in 1996 and 29th last season.

Also worth watching: Matt Kenseth. He is the defending champion of this event and earned a near-perfect Driver Rating of 144.8 in that race (a perfect Driver Rating is 150.0). Over the last two years at Homestead, Kenseth has a Driver Rating of 108.8, an Average Running Position of 9.7, 37 Fastest Laps Run and 299 Laps in the Top 15.

-credit: nascar

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