* Five races remain in Truex, Bowyer's quest for the championship DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 12, 2005) -- Like many youngsters, Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) and Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) probably didn't have...
* Five races remain in Truex, Bowyer's quest for the championship
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 12, 2005) -- Like many youngsters, Martin Truex Jr. (No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) and Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) probably didn't have much interest in history when they were in school.
But both wouldn't mind being the recipients of some key NASCAR Busch Series statistical history in Charlotte. Since the series' inception in 1982, the driver leading the point standings following the fall race there has gone on to win the title every year but two -- 1991 and 2003.
Only forty-nine points separate Truex, the leader and defending series champion, from second-place Bowyer heading into Friday night's race.
With just five events remaining, this is the sixth-closest championship battle in series history. And both drivers look to take this championship chase to the end at Homestead-Miami Speedway next month. Prior to last Saturday's race at Kansas, Truex was only 26 points ahead of Bowyer. A native of Emporia, Kan., Bowyer considers Kansas Speedway his home track and had set his sights on overtaking Truex in front of family and friends. However, a loose wheel forced Bowyer to come to pit road with just seven laps to go and he was relegated to a 16th-place finish. Truex finished 10th.
"The best thing about that day was that it was close to my hometown, my home track and it was important for me to run good there," Bowyer said. "We just didn't get the finish right there at the end. By no means did we have anything to really frown on."
Although Truex was able to escape Kansas with a slight increase in his already-precarious lead, Bowyer's quest for the championship remains strong. "Yeah we lost some points, but I think it has just made all of us that much hungrier these last five races," Bowyer said.
And hungry he is.
So what is each driver's strategy to make sure they leave Charlotte with the points lead -- and continue the historical trend?
"We need to stay focused and not get too far ahead of ourselves," Truex said. "This championship will be won by a driver who capitalizes on the other's mistake. Typically we don't run well at mile and a half tracks, but our program has gotten better. Our goal is to remain the points leader leaving Charlotte." According to Bowyer, he plans on handling his on-track business the same way he has all season long -- by running up front.
"We have to attack it just how we did at Kansas, Texas, and all the rest of these mile-and-a half racetracks," he said. "We just have to go in there with a lot of confidence and make sure we get things handled."