First-year NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team owner Kyle Busch delivered a tight 0.577 of a second victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway and locked up the 2010 series owners' championship.
The twenty-five-year-old driver knocked out his eighth victory along with this 13th top-five and 14th top-10 finish in his 16th series start. He drove across the finish line ahead of Ron Hornaday, Jr., after holding the 200-mile race lead six times for an event-best 57 laps.
Busch rocketed his No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports machine past Hornaday's No. 33 Kevin Harvick, Inc., truck following a restart on Lap 131 and led the closing three laps of the 25th and final series race of the season.
"It definitely wasn't the way we wanted to do it, but it turned out it was pretty exciting, hopefully for everybody on TV and sitting in the stands. These guys do such a great job at Kyle Busch Motorsports and, this weekend, our truck was quick. We just had to keep it out front. We were doing that pretty well for much of the race, just fighting really loose. I got in the wall a little bit (on Lap 105). We came down pit road, fixed it, put tires on it and tightened it up a little bit where I could really drive it and drive it hard.
"Coming back up through (the field) things were getting a little bit crazy. I don't even know where I was on the backstretch, one time I was in the middle of a gaggle that was probably 15, 20 trucks. Somehow we made it through that and made our way back up towards the front.
"I knew we could do it. I knew we had a fast truck, and I just thought if you could be a little bit patient but yet be really aggressive you could get up there and do it," Busch said after placing 14th in the final series standings and doubling the victory total of 2010 series champion and fourth-place Homestead-Miami race finisher Todd Bodine.
Busch relayed his gratitude to his Kyle Busch Motorsports team for helping him bag the owners' title by 150 points over Bodine's owner Steve Germain. "These guys have done a phenomenal job all year. I can't thank everybody from Eric Phillips making race calls on top of that box to Rick Ren putting this whole deal together with me and helping me get the right people in the right places.
"As Joe Gibbs would tell you, you win with people, and it doesn't matter whether you're in the NFL or NASCAR. I feel like I won with my people this year. The guys that we had on board were just tremendous supporters of mine and worked long, hard hours in the shop, never gave up, never held their head down, never pouted about how much we were working, but just kept working," Busch added.
Hornaday, Jr., nailed down his 11th top-five and 13th top-10 finish of the season. He closes out the season seventh in the series standings following the rare instance of being beat off a restart.
"If I would have picked the inside (line) Kyle would have pinched me down. I tried to do it to him. I don't know how he does it, but he gets up the side draft getting into the corner. I mean, he leaned up against me at that point, turned down in there and either didn't have enough room or they just shot him forward. I'm going to learn that from him sometime. I'm going to watch closer.
"We were just too tight through the middle (of the corner) and his truck was free enough where he kept the momentum going. I just kind of wished Johnny (Sauter) kind of hit him a little harder when he squeezed him against the fence over there so he didn't have such a good truck to come back with to beat me," Hornaday, Jr., said.
Sauter collected his 14th top-five and 16th top-10 finish of the season with a third-place Homestead-Miami showing. He completes the season third in the series standings and 261 points behind Bodine. Aric Almirola closed out the series season finale fifth with his 11th top-five and 21st top-10 finish. He delivered his first runner-up finish in the series championship standings after placing 207 points behind Bodine.
Matt Crafton placed fourth in the championship standings with 10 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes. Austin Dillon claimed series Rookie of the Year honors by finishing fifth in the championship standings after banking seven pole awards, two victories and a total of seven top-five and 16 top-10 finishes.
The series will open its 25-race 2011 season slate on Feb. 18 at Daytona International Speedway. The national tour will feature July 7 and Oct. 1 Kentucky Speedway events. Six-race season ticket plans and gift certificates that can be redeemed for race tickets and more can be reserved through the tickets pages of this Web site.
Story by Mike Schmaltz