* Edwards Tries Yet Again To Clinch First National Series Championship * Wallace Hopes To Fend Off Kenseth For Spot In Final Rankings * In The Loop: Reutimann Looks To Play Spoiler To Edwards No Lead Too Large: Edwards Tries To Close Out Title...
* Edwards Tries Yet Again To Clinch First National Series Championship
* Wallace Hopes To Fend Off Kenseth For Spot In Final Rankings
* In The Loop: Reutimann Looks To Play Spoiler To Edwards
No Lead Too Large: Edwards Tries To Close Out Title Once Again
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 30, 2007) -- Following the race at Gateway International Raceway last July, Carl Edwards (No. 60 Dish Network Ford) had an 852-point lead over second-place David Reutimann (No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota) in the NASCAR Busch Series standings.
He commented at the time that no lead was too large because no lead is ever safe.
Many eyes rolled over that remark.
Now, with three races left in the season, Edwards' statement doesn't seem so far-fetched.
His lead over Reutimann is still stout at 531 points, but his luck lately has been anything but.
Three weeks ago in Charlotte, he was seemingly en route to clinching the title when he was caught up in an incident on Lap 133, ending that opportunity. Last Saturday at Memphis he was forced to start from the rear of the field following a driver change upon his arrival from Atlanta and his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series duties after substitute driver Matt McCall qualified the No. 60 Ford.
There, he was involved in two incidents that looked to knock him out of a clinch chance. He rallied, but a spin with less than 10 laps left relegated him to 25th --- the seventh finish of 25th or worse in his last 10 races.
To clinch, he needs to leave Texas with a 390-point lead over Reutimann. If he finishes 36th or better, 37th and leads at least one lap, or 39th and leads the most laps, he will become the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series champion -- finally.
His luck could very well change at Texas, where he finished third last spring. In five races there, he has three top-five and four top-10 finishes. He also won the fall race last year in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition.
Texas Two-Step: Wallace, Kenseth In Three-Race Showdown For 10th
Series regular Mike Wallace (No. 7 GEICO Chevrolet) comes to Texas in 10th place in the point standings, 102 points ahead of 11th-place Matt Kenseth (No. 17 I Level Ford). Kenseth is scheduled to compete in the final three races of the season, making Saturday's race the first of three showdowns between the two drivers.
Even though he's got a substantial cushion heading into the O'Reilly Challenge, Wallace has the law of averages to overcome in order to capture a coveted spot in the final top 10.
In the 21 races the two drivers have competed in together this season, Kenseth has an average finish of 11.1 while Wallace's average finish is 23.8. Kenseth has two wins, one of which came at Texas this past spring. He has two wins overall at Texas (2004).
Wallace has competed in at least one race in the series over the last 18 seasons, but 2007 is only his fourth full-time campaign.
In The Loop: Reutimann Hopes To Postpone Edwards' Title Clinch Once More
Can David Reutimann accomplish the improbable and delay Carl Edwards' quest to clinch the NASCAR Busch Series championship for a third consecutive week?
Yes he can. It will be tough but here's how he can do it:
Step One: Control what he can control. Reutimann first has to worry about his own performance. That's exactly what he did at Memphis by winning, leading the most laps and earning a perfect Driver Rating of 150.0.
His past Texas performances suggest he'll run well this weekend. Reutimann has competed three times at Texas in the NASCAR Busch Series, averaging a finish of 14.7 -- and he has been strong of late, notching a sixth-place result this past spring. In his two Texas races since 2005, Reutimann has a Driver Rating of 85.1, an Average Running Position of 14.0 and has run 55% of the total laps in the top 15.
Step Two: Get lucky. Edwards needs to finish 36th or better to clinch the championship -- a likely scenario considering his Texas past. In this season's spring race, Edwards finished third and in this race last season, he finished seventh. In 2005, he finished fourth and third, respectively, in the two races. The one blemish on Edwards' Texas record is a 43rd-place finish in the spring race last season. Overall at Texas, Edwards has a Driver Rating of 93.6, an Average Running Position of 14.7, 36 Fastest Laps Run and has spent 66.8% of his laps in the top 15. Reutimann needs another last-place finish from Edwards if he wants to prolong the inevitable.
Step Three: Deal with the competition. The competition will be fierce this weekend, as reigning series champion Kevin Harvick (No. 21 AutoZone Chevrolet) returns to the scene. Harvick has been solid at Texas, earning a Driver Rating of 117.7 and an Average Running Position of 5.9 (both are best of any driver competing Saturday).
Matt Kenseth, winner of this year's Texas spring race, is also entered in Saturday's field. He has a Texas Driver Rating of 108.1.