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Archive for Sunday, November 20, 2005

Newman notches first at Ford 300

Truex, however, claims Busch Series points championship

November 20, 2005

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— Martin Truex Jr. had another championship and a headache Saturday night after the season-ending Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

"My head hurts, and I'm just glad it's over," Truex said after surviving a series of setbacks to finish seventh in the race and grab his second straight NASCAR Busch Series title on a night when Ryan Newman raced to another victory.

Nextel Cup standouts Newman and Greg Biffle battled at the front of the pack through most of the season-ending, 200-lap race before Newman took the lead for good with a daring pass three laps from the end.

Truex came into the race with a 64-point lead over Clint Bowyer and wound up winning by 68 points as Bowyer finished eighth.

"There were times this year when we weren't running very well," Truex said. "We all stuck together."

Truex, who will move up to Cup full-time next season, became the first driver to win consecutive Busch Series titles since Chance 2 Motorsports team co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. did it in 1998 and 1999.

The defending champion crashed during his qualifying attempt Saturday afternoon. He had to switch to a backup car, which meant Truex was forced to start from the rear of the 43-car field. Truex quickly made his way toward the front and was running in the top 10 when he began to feel a vibration. He pitted under the green flag on lap 59 to change the right rear tire. That left Truex a lap down in 31st place.

He again charged toward the front, got back on the lead lap with the help of a series of caution flags and again moved into the top 10, keeping Bowyer within sight most of the way.

Biffle passed Newman for the lead on lap 172. Biffle was leading by nearly two seconds and seemingly on the way to an easy win when Brent Sherman brought out a caution flag on lap 193 when he hit the wall and then lost a wheel.

On the ensuing restart on lap 198, Newman drove to the high side of the banking and raced past Biffle into the lead. Newman held off the challenger the rest of the way, winning by 0.138 seconds - about three car-lengths.

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