BUSCH COMES HOME SECOND AT HOMESTEAD Z-Lines Designs Driver Ends 2008 Nationwide Series Season Strong Kyle Busch put on another strong performance behind the wheel of a Joe Gibbs Racing-prepared Toyota. In Saturday night's season-ending Ford 300...
BUSCH COMES HOME SECOND AT HOMESTEAD
Z-Lines Designs Driver Ends 2008 Nationwide Series Season Strong
Kyle Busch put on another strong performance behind the wheel of a Joe Gibbs Racing-prepared Toyota. In Saturday night's season-ending Ford 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Busch led twice for five laps in his No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota and dogged eventual winner Carl Edwards before finishing second.
"We had a great race car there and the guys did an awesome job," said Busch, who wraps his 2008 Nationwide Series season with a record-tying 10 wins, four poles, 18 top-fives, 20 top-10s and 1,867 laps led. "We unloaded behind and we fought from behind all weekend. The 60 (Edwards) was real fast and real strong and we just came up a little short. There's a piece of damage on the front end of the car and I don't know if that was the culprit or not, but I got so tight at the end that I couldn't even steer through the corners."
The runner-up result capped an impressive year for sponsor Z-Line Designs, as the San Ramon, Calif.-based designer and import manufacturer of ready-to-assemble furniture visited victory lane seven times with three different drivers:
1. Feb. 25 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., with Tony Stewart
2. May 2 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway with Denny Hamlin
3. July 11 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., with Busch
4. July 26 at O'Reilly Raceway Park near Indianapolis wit Busch
5. Aug. 30 at Auto Club Speedway with Busch
6. Sept. 20 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway with Busch
7. Sept. 27 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas with Hamlin
Thanks to Busch's second-place effort, the No. 18 car finished a respectable 22nd in the final Nationwide Series owner standings with 3,347 points despite running only a partial schedule in 2008.
Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Joey Logano, started from the pole in the No. 20 Toyota and led the first 21 laps of the Ford 300 before finishing 10th in his 19th career Nationwide Series race. Logano's 14th top-10 finish since making his debut May 31 at Dover allowed the No. 20 team to win the Nationwide Series owner championship by 12 points over the No. 2 entry of Richard Childress Racing. It was Joe Gibbs Racing's first Nationwide Series championship but fifth overall NASCAR championship, as the organization has won three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles (2000 with Bobby Labonte, 2002 and 2005 with Stewart) and one NASCAR Camping World Series East crown (2007 with Logano).
The No. 20 car earned nine victories in 2008 -- five with Stewart, two with Hamlin and one apiece with Logano and Busch.
"They had a great car all year long," said Busch of the No. 20 team. "For it to come down to the final race like that, it was pretty cool to see, and for Joey to run the amount of races that he ran in the car and to win the races that he won, he did his part of the deal. Everybody that was in that car -- myself, Joey, Denny and Tony -- we all won, and we're all a part of the championship. But the big pat on the back and the big support needs to go back to the guys at the shop. So many guys stepped up to make our cars fast and run up front."
There were eight caution periods for 38 laps, with 13 drivers failing to finish the 200-lap race.
Edwards' win in the Ford 300 was his 20th career Nationwide Series victory, his seventh of the season and his first at Homestead. Busch crossed the stripe .639 of a second behind Edwards, while Brad Keselowski, Jason Leffler and Clint Bowyer -- winner of the 2008 Nationwide Series driver championship -- secured the rest of the top-five. Scott Wimmer, Hamlin (driving for Braun Racing), Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelly Bires and Logano comprised the remainder of the top-10.