BUSCH Ford 300Final
Burton wins Busch Series-finale Ford 300Nov 18, 2007 - 4:14 AM By Bruce Martin PA SportsTicker Contributing Editor
HOMESTEAD, Florida (Ticker) - Old friends Jeff Burton and Mark Martin battled it out for the victory in Saturday's Ford 300, with Burton holding off the all-time victory leader in the series for the checkered flag.
Saturday night's race was the final Busch Series race in history. It will become the Nationwide Series in 2008.
Martin is the all-time Busch Series winner with 48 wins and Burton is an "old-school" driver from South Boston, Virginia.
Burton has 27 Busch wins in 280 races, including two at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
But it was Burton who won this battle and his victory sealed the owners' championship for Richard Childress Racing. It was the 13th Busch win for the team this season.
"Congratulations guys, that's the way to take the championship," Childress told his driver after the checkered flag. "Jeff Burton, Scott Wimmer, you guys are both champions. Congratulations, guys.
"It's a tribute to my two drivers and I can't wait to do a little celebrating."
Although Richard Childress Racing won the team owners championship, Carl Edwards clinched the drivers' title two weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway.
"The wins this year were a blast and I thought I was going to get another one tonight," Edwards said after finishing fourth in a Ford. "It was fun racing with Mark and Jeff and those guys. If you have a dream, keep on chasing it and don't let anyone bring you down.
"We had an awesome lead in the drivers' standings and I really felt good right after the first race at Daytona."
When it comes to owners' points, the ride shared by Burton and Wimmer had the best season.
"It's been a wonderful season," said crew chief Pat Smith. "We have some time to think about it now."
It was Burton's fifth Busch win this season and the 27th of his career.
"It's real exciting," Burton said. "To win 13 races this year at RCR and Scott Wimmer doing a great job this year, this team has been awesome. It really means a lot to me to win the last race in the NASCAR Busch Series. I grew up wanting to be a Busch driver so that means a lot to me."
Burton's Chevrolet defeated Martin's Chevrolet by 1.718 seconds. After the victory, Burton drove straight to victory lane rather than smoke his tires with burnouts, which some drivers have done so often it has become pass.
"Jeff Burton is Old School," Martin said. "None of that juvenile stuff like doing burnouts.
"Jeff Burton is a major class act. And when he was little he looked at the Busch Series as something that might be obtainable in his life time and spent time watching that racing. It's been a pleasure to have the opportunity to race with him and have it look like with 10 (laps) to go that it might be decided between he and I. The Busch Series still holds a dear place in my heart."
Burton and Martin form a mutual admiration society. Martin was almost a mentor to Burton when the two were at Roush Racing and have since formed a solid friendship.
"I had a lot of fun racing Mark Martin today, that was a blast," Burton said. "It was just a lot of fun."
Wimmer also shared in the championship as one of the team's drivers.
"It's been a great privilege to drive with Jeff and for Mr. Childress," Wimmer said.
Fords rounded out the top five with Matt Kenseth third followed by Edwards and Stephen Leicht.
It was RCR's 11th NASCAR championship with six in Cup, four in Busch and one in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
The 48-year-old Martin nearly got to victory lane driving a Chevrolet for team owner Rick Hendrick.
"It was awesome to race Jeff Burton for it," Martin said. "I was real happy to drive the car for Hendrick Motorsports. It's a true honor to drive for Rick Hendrick and such great people like this. I got them two second-place finishes this year but I just couldn't have got the deal done.
"We came up short and I have a lot of fire and desire that people like Rick Hendrick give me cars like this."
The victory was worth $92,400 for Burton, who led twice for 51 laps including the final 26.
Kevin Harvick led three times for 84 laps but finished 16th after he was penalized by NASCAR officials for having a tire roll out of his pits on his final pit stop. That put him at the tail end of the longest line on the restart and out of contention for the victory.
There were 12 cautions for 48 laps which lowered the average speed of the race to 112.512 miles per hour.
When Burton, Martin and Harvick were all battling for the win, a sense of history came over the driver who would win the race.
"Mark was leading and Harvick was chasing him and that was the two all-time leading Busch winners there," Burton said. "To me, that's really cool."
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