BUSCH: Phoenix: Round 32 preview

Busch holds Truex's title hopes off for another week Lewis parlays strong season into fulltime ride in 2005 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 3, 2004) ... Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Long John Silvers Chevrolet) and Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet) are...

Busch holds Truex's title hopes off for another week
Lewis parlays strong season into fulltime ride in 2005

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 3, 2004) ... Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Long John Silvers Chevrolet) and Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet) are focusing more on where they finish Saturday as opposed to making their first career NASCAR Busch Series starts at Phoenix.

With three races left in the 2004 season, the young drivers - who are one-two in the point standings, respectively - have spent the last 21 race weeks battling each other for the lead. Truex has held serve for the last 17 consecutive race weeks, while Busch has been in the lead three times during that span.

Truex, now with a 176-point lead, was able to secure a top-10 finish at Atlanta despite numerous maladies throughout the race. Busch, driving with a heavy heart following the tragedy surrounding his Hendrick Motorsports team, channeled his emotion to a near-victory, finishing second to Matt Kenseth (No. 17 Waste Management Ford) following a dramatic green-white-checker finish. Busch gained 32 points on the leader, and quelled any opportunity for Truex to clinch the 2004 championship this weekend.

Instead, Truex needs to finish 10th or better in the remaining three races in order to clinch.

Lewis focuses on first career top-10 finish and new ride in '05 ... Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 46 Lewis Motorsports Chevrolet) has quietly produced the best of his four fulltime seasons in the NASCAR Busch Series, and is on the verge of securing his first top-10 finish in the championship standings. Lewis heads to Phoenix 10th in the rankings, a position he has held for the last three race weeks. Although still locked in a battle with David Stremme (No. 14 U.S. Navy Chevrolet) for that coveted spot - Lewis is only 17 points ahead of Stremme - he also has his sights set on further advancement as he sits just 39 points behind ninth-place Kenny Wallace (No. 23 Stacker 2 Chevrolet). In addition to his resurgent season, Lewis, who has driven for family-owned Lewis Motorsports, was named last week as the driver for the No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford and co-owners Ed and Sam Rensi in 2005. Lewis has bittersweet feelings toward the move but is excited about the opportunity Team Rensi represents. "I think they have a great team and they obviously have great equipment," he said. "(Crew chief) Harold (Holly) built up a really good stable of cars and group of guys." As far as the remainder of 2004 is concerned, Lewis relishes the opportunity to be a part of the season-ending NASCAR Busch Series awards banquet at the Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 10. "I look forward to the opportunity to go on stage, and the opportunity to do it with our team," he said. "To finish 10th in points, to know what we had to race against and the resources we had to race against and do as well as we have, I think would be a tremendous accomplishment, especially since it's our last season together. I don't think there could be a better finish to the season."

-nascar-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR-NS