BUSCH WINS HIS FIRST NASCAR DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP
Wins Nationwide Series Championship, First Camry Driver to Win Title
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (November 21, 2009) -- Kyle Busch clinched the NNS driver's championship and his first career NASCAR title when his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Camry took the green flag in Saturday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Once the race started, the Las Vegas-native proved he wasn't just satisfied with winning the driver's title by starting the race. Busch led a race-high 73 laps at the Florida track en route to victory lane in the series season-finale.
It marks the first time a Camry racer has won a NASCAR driver's title since Toyota joined Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series competition at the start of the 2007 season. Along with Busch's driver's title, Toyota has earned manufacturer's championships in the Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) this season. Previously, Toyota won the NNS manufacturer's championship in 2008 and the NCWTS manufacturer's championship three times (2006, 2007 and 2008). Tundra racers Todd Bodine (2006) and Johnny Benson (2008) also captured the NCWTS driver's crowns.
Busch ended the year 210 points ahead of second-place Carl Edwards to capture his first career NASCAR championship and the second straight NNS owner's title for JGR. A title- contender throughout the 2009 season, the Las Vegas-native led the NNS point standings since the Phoenix race in April. The 24-year-old driver has recorded nine NNS victories this season -- winning events at California (Feb. 21), Texas (April 4), Richmond (May 1), Nashville (June 6), N.H. (June 27), St. Louis (July 18), Charlotte (Oct. 16), Texas (Nov. 7) and Miami (Nov. 21).
"It feels awesome to clinch the championship for Toyota, Z-Line Designs and NOS Energy Drink," said Busch. "But, I've also got to thank all of the guys on the No. 18 team for what they do and the hours they spend -- Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) reading the books and the computer and going through all the notes. There are a lot of guys on this team that really deserve it. They work hard. The No. 20 team earned the owner's championship last year and now that the No. 18 car has got a championship, everybody in the whole Gibbs shop is championship-worthy. It's pretty cool." At California in February, Busch made NASCAR history by becoming the first driver to win two national touring series races on the same day at one track -- capturing the checkered flag in the Nationwide Series race after visiting victory lane in the Truck Series earlier that day. His sweep of Texas in 2009 enabled Busch to become the first racer to win four consecutive NNS events at the Fort Worth track.
In 35 starts this season, Busch recorded a series record 25 top-fives and 30 top-10 finishes. Among his top-five results were 20 finishes of first or second, including a streak of 10 races (June 6 to Aug. 8) where he posted 10 consecutive top-two finishes -- breaking Jack Ingram's 1983 NNS record for most consecutive first or second-place finishes in series history. Busch also made NASCAR history at Kansas (Oct. 3) where he broke the NNS record for laps led in a single season, which was previously held by Sam Ard with 2,127 laps led in 1984. Busch ended the year with 2,698 laps led.
Along with nine victories, Busch also recorded three pole positions in 2009 -- at Texas (April 14), Nashville (June 6) and Dover (Sept. 26).
Busch's championship comes in his second year -- and first full season -- driving a Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing in NNS competition. In 65 career NNS starts behind the wheel of a Camry, Busch has amassed 19 wins, seven poles, 43 top-fives, 50 top-10 results and has led 4,631 laps. Since 2004, he has 30 career series wins and currently ranks fourth in all-time series victories. "We are extremely proud of Kyle Busch and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing for what they've accomplished in the Nationwide Series during the past two years," said Lee White, president and general manager of TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development). "Kyle has performed at an exceptional level since he first stepped into a Camry last season and was able to win a championship in just his second year with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota. Along with Kyle and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing, we also need to recognize everyone at TRD for all their hard work and dedication." In 2009, Camry drivers won 15 races and captured 13 pole positions.
2009 TOYOTA 'FAST FACTS' KYLE BUSCH IN THE NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES
Kyle Busch captured his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) driver's championship Saturday at Homestead- Miami Speedway when his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Camry took the green flag. He would go on to win the season-finale at the Miami track -- his ninth win of 2009.
Busch recorded 25 top-fives -- including 20 top-two results -- and 30 top-10 finishes in 35 starts in 2009.
In 65 career NNS starts behind the wheel of a Camry, Busch has amassed 19 wins, seven poles, 43 top-fives, 50 top-10 results and has led 4,631 laps.
Toyota clinched its second consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) manufacturer's championship in just its third NNS season at Memphis (Oct. 24) this year.
Six teams fielded eight full-time Camrys in NNS competition. Camry NNS teams included Braun Racing (Nos. 32 and 38), CJM Racing (No. 11), Germain Racing (No. 15), Joe Gibbs Racing (Nos. 18 and 20), JTG Daugherty Racing (No. 47) and Michael Waltrip Racing (No. 99). 2009 SEASON
Camry drivers earned 68 top-five results and 127 top-10 finishes.
-credit: toyota motorsports