Harvick wins race, Edwards clinches title
Kevin Harvick won the battle. Carl Edwards won the war.
Harvick streaked across the finish line 3.486 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch to win Saturday's O'Reilly Challenge NASCAR Busch Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. Harvick won his series-best fourth race at Texas, his sixth of the season and the 32nd of his career, breaking a tie with Jack Ingram for second on the all-time Busch Series win list.
With a 531-point lead entering Saturday's race, Edwards accomplished what had become inevitable, his first series championship. With an 11th-place finish, he closed out second-place David Reutimann to give Roush Fenway Racing its first NASCAR title and Jack Roush his second championship in the Busch Series.
Carl Edwards celebrates Busch series title trophy
CIA Stock Photo
Edwards locked up the title by the time the race reached Lap 162. With Harvick a runaway winner last year, it marked the second straight season a full-time Nextel Cup driver has won the NASCAR Busch Series championship.
Edwards also will be the last in a line of 19 different Busch Series champions over 26 years, given that Nationwide assumes sponsorship of the series next year.
"It feels great," Edwards. "The first half of the year was so spectacular. We had luck on our side. It's just amazing. I've lived two completely different lives. I was here at Texas Motor Speedway in 2000 with Mike Mittler, working on his truck.
"So to be standing out there on pit road with the championship trophy is just amazing."
Harvick took the lead on Lap 166 when frontrunner Greg Biffle came to the pits with what he thought -- erroneously -- was a flat tire. From that point on, it was no contest.
Denny Hamlin ran third, Clint Bowyer fourth and Matt Kenseth fifth. Rookie Brad Keselowski finished sixth, followed by Tony Stewart, who had the race's dominant car until a mishap on Lap 111 slowed his Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet.
"Just to be up there with Jack Ingram and Mark Martin and all the guys who made the Busch Series what it is, that's pretty special," said Harvick, who is 15 wins behind Martin, the series leader.
During a green-flag run that lasted from Lap 27 to Lap 128, Stewart opened a lead that reached eight seconds over Harvick, who was running second. On Lap 111, however, at the end of the backstretch, the right front of Stewart's No. 18 Chevrolet clipped the rear of the lapped car of Kyle Krisiloff, punching a hole through the headlight decal on Stewart's car.
From that point until the yellow flag flew for debris in Turn 3 on Lap 128, Stewart's lead shrank at a rate of roughly three-tenths of a second per lap. Hamlin passed Harvick for second position on Lap 121 as the two drivers closed on the leader.
Stewart, who led 114 of the 200 laps, made an extra pit stop for repairs under the caution and restarted 13th on Lap 133. By then, there were only 15 cars on the lead lap.
1. Kevin Harvick, No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, 200, running
2. Kyle Busch, No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, 200, running
3. Denny Hamlin, No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet, 200, running
4. Clint Bowyer, No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, 200, running
5. Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing, 200, running
6. Brad Keselowski, No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, 200, running
7. Tony Stewart, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet, 200, running
8. Jeff Burton, No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, 200, running
9. Tony Raines, No. 33 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet, 200, running
10. Stephen Leicht, No. 90 Robert Yates Racing Ford, 200, running
11. Carl Edwards, No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, 200, running
12. Jason Leffler, No. 38 Braun Racing Toyota, 200, running
13. Robby Gordon, No. 55 Robby Gordon Motorsports Ford, 200, running
14. Bobby Hamilton Jr., No. 35 Team Rensi Motorsports Ford, 200, running
15. Casey Mears, No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, 199, running
16. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, 199, running
17. David Ragan, No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, 199, running
18. David Reutimann, No. 99 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, 199, running
19. Kelly Bires, No. 47 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford, 199, running
20. Michael McDowell, No. 00 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, 198, running
21. Mike Wallace, No. 7 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet, 197, running
22. Jason Keller, No. 11 CJM Racing Chevrolet, 197, running
23. Steve Wallace, No. 66 Rusty Wallace Inc. Dodge, 197, running
24. Elliott Sadler, No. 9 Gillett Evernham Motorsports Dodge, 197, running
25. Dario Franchitti, No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge, 197, running
26. Casey Atwood, No. 37 Brewco Motorsports Ford, 197, running
27. Kyle Krisiloff, No. 14 Carl A. Haas Motorsports Ford, 196, running
28. Bryan Clauson, No. 41 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge, 195, running
29. Bobby Labonte, No. 77 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet, 195, running
30. Marcos Ambrose, No. 59 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford, 195, running
31. Sam Hornish Jr., No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge, 194, running
32. Robert Richardson Jr., No. 28 Jay Robinson Racing Ford, 193, running
33. J.J. Yeley, No. 1 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet, 188, engine
34. Richard Johns, No. 25 Team Rensi Motorsports Ford, 188, running
35. Brad Baker, No. 27 Brewco Motorsports Ford, 171, accident
36. Mark Green, No. 70 ML Motorsports Chevrolet, 170, engine
37. Brent Sherman, No. 10 Braun Racing Toyota, 161, running
38. Brent Sherman, No. 30 Ski Motorsports Chevrolet, 131, accident
39. Morgan Shepherd, No. 89 Faith Motorsports Dodge, 33, handling
40. Eric McClure, No. 0 DDL Motorsports Chevrolet, 18, electrical
41. Kertus Davis, No. 01 Davis Motorsports Chevrolet, 12, vibration
42. Jeremy Clements, No. 36 McGill Motorsports Chevrolet, 4, accident
43. Mike Bliss, No. 22 Fitz Motorsports Dodge, 3, accident