Busch Captures Title; Biffle Wins Ford 400 MIAMI, Fla., -- It was a Roush Racing sweep in Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway as Kurt Busch was crowned the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship and Greg Biffle captured the Ford...
Busch Captures Title; Biffle Wins Ford 400
MIAMI, Fla., -- It was a Roush Racing sweep in Sunday's Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway as Kurt Busch was crowned the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series championship and Greg Biffle captured the Ford 400 in a race that lived up to expectations.
Busch survived a broken wheel early in the race and a thrilling green-white-checkered finish with fellow championship contenders Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon to win his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series title in only his fourth full year in NASCAR's elite series.
"It's an unbelievable deal," Busch said. "This is what a team does to win the championship - they perservere on a day like this. All year long we've done things like this, whether we put ourselves in a hole or whether we had a small problem. I just can't believe we were able to overcome all that turmoil today."
For Busch, who finished fifth, his eight-point championship victory over Johnson is the closest in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series history. For owner Jack Roush, it's his second straight NEXTEL Cup Series title and it's first for veteran crew chief Jimmy Fennig.
The Ford 400 went into overtime after leader Ryan Newman blew a tire with three laps remaining in the race. On the green-white checkered restart, Biffle, who started third, quickly jumped past leader Tony Stewart and held off Johnson for a .342-second victory.
Busch's fifth-place finish was good enough for an eight-point championship victory over Johnson, who came home second in the race.
Third-place race finisher Gordon also ranked third in the points standings, eight points behind Johnson.
Both Johnson and Gordon said that their Hendrick Motorsports teams gave it everything they had.
"We're definitely disappointed that we didn't win the championship, but if you look back four or five weeks ago we weren't even in the Chase," Johnson said. "With the loss of so many people in the October tragedy, it's amazing that we were able to have the finish that we did and to have the comeback that we did. I wish we could have gotten the job done but we can leave here tonight knowing we gave 100 percent and gave everything that we could. We just came up short. We'll just come back next year and try harder."
Said Gordon: "We gave it every effort we had. We had a several opportunities throughout the day. That flat left rear tire really got us behind and we fought back all day long. I'm really proud of Robbie (Loomis) and all the guys for the race car they gave me."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mark Martin were the other two drivers eligible for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup entering Sunday's finale. Martin finished 11th in the race and fourth in the standings while Earnhardt Jr. finished 23rd in the race and fifth in the standings.
Jamie McMurray finished seventh in the Ford 400 and nabbed the 11th spot in the championship standings, earning a million dollar bonus.
For information on tickets for the 2005 racing season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, call (305) 230-RACE or (866) 409-RACE or log online to www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com