BUSCH O'Reilly ChallengeFinal
Edwards clinches Busch Series title; Harvick wins raceNov 3, 2007 - 11:54 PM By Bruce Martin PA SportsTicker Contributing Editor
FORT WORTH, Texas (Ticker) - Kevin Harvick was victorious but Carl Edwards came away the big winner, clinching the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series title by finishing 11th in Saturday's O'Reilly Challenge.
Edwards gave team owner Jack Roush his second Busch title but his first with Roush Fenway Racing and its partner, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry.
It was the 32nd career Busch win for Harvick, the defending series champion, who passed Jack Ingram for second on the all-time list.
"Ever since we started the program with RCR, this has been a winning program," Harvick said. "We weren't as good as we wanted it to be in the middle part of the year, but they got the car ready to go for the end and we just took off.
"To be up there with Sam Ard and Jack Ingram, those are the guys that had to work during the week and then race on the weekends. I grew up doing that because that's how my dad made me do it. They are the ones who got it started so that those of us can do what we do."
It was also Harvick's fourth career Busch win at Texas Motor Speedway, breaking a tie with Mark Martin for most Busch wins at Texas.
Harvick's Chevrolet defeated Kyle Busch's Chevy by 3.486 seconds.
"It's pretty disappointing to come in second," Busch said. "That's four second-place finishes this year if I'm not mistaken. That's pretty pathetic. The more the car would go the tighter it would it would get. We didn't have enough for Harvick there. He got out in clean air and just took off."
Denny Hamlin's Chevrolet was third followed by Clint Bowyer's Chevy and Matt Kenseth's Ford.
Edwards was just out of the top 10 but it was enough for the championship.
"It's amazing to me to be the Busch Series champion," Edwards said. "I can't tell you what it means to me to be a champion. It's a great feeling."
Harvick collected $73,275 for the victory, his sixth win of the season and 19th top-10 finish in 24 races this season.
"We had a good day," Harvick said. "Once we got that last set of tires up there we were able to race hard on the restart and started running the 16 (Greg Biffle) down. He ended up having tire trouble.
"Our car was right at the end of the race. Over last couple of years we've been fortunate to win a lot of races. I'm going to be racing for a long time. That's what we show up for, to win races and be competitive."
Tony Stewart led three times for 114 laps, the most of any driver in the race. But after he ran into a car earlier in the race, he finished seventh.
Harvick led twice for 36 laps and Biffle led twice for 26 laps.
Buffle was leading when he thought had had a tire going flat and pulled into the pits to replace it with 34 laps to go. But the tire was not flat and it cost Biffle at shot at the victory. He finished 16th.
"I don't know what happened," Biffle said. "Nobody feels worse than I do. We must have run over a tear-off or something. I came off of turn 2 just sailing along, in the groove, I mean I was even running low, and the thing just took off for the fence. And I lifted on the gas and stepped on the brake just a little bit, and I missed the fence by probably half an inch.
"We instantly knew that the right front tire went flat or ran something over. So I came down pit road and they didn't see anything wrong with it."
On this day, it was a rare chance for last year's champion and this year's title winner to both celebrate for totally different reasons.
"Kevin does a great job and Texas fits him so well," team owner Richard Childress said of Harvick. "Hopefully tomorrow will be when he gets that first Cup victory at Texas. I thought he ran a great race."
Ironically, Childress still leads the owners' championship, giving NASCAR a possible split with one team winning the drivers' title and another leading the owners' title.
RCR splits the Busch Series ride with Cup regular Jeff Burton and Scott Wimmer.
Harvick ran away with last season's title, winning by 824 points. With Edwards faltering over the last couple of months, he will not surpass that championship margin. Edwards has a 552-point lead over David Reutimann.
"We had a great season last year where I couldn't seem to do anything wrong," Harvick said. "It's nice to still have that intact."