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Edwards Wins, Busch’s Title On Hold

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, November 14 2009
Kyle Busch's hopes to clinch the Nationwide Series championship took an early hit in Phoenix on Saturday. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kyle Busch's hopes to clinch the Nationwide Series championship took an early hit in Phoenix on Saturday. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)


Kyle Busch will have to wait one more week to celebrate his 2009 Nationwide Series championship.

On  Saturday in the Able Body Labor 200 at Phoenix International Raceway, Busch finished ninth and, with Carl Edwards winning and collecting maxmium points, Busch came up two finishing positions short of what he needed to clinch.

As a result, Busch will head to the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway needing just to start in order to get his championship.

He left PIR 190 ahead of Edwards, who is second in points.

Edwards said, yes, the championship is certainly Busch’s, “But, this is what we came here to do, win the race.”

Edwards also collected bonus points for leading the most laps – 108 of 200. His margin of victory was 2.4 seconds.

“We felt pretty good about our car yesterday in happy hour and didn’t make a lot of changes to it this morning,” Jason Ratcliff, Busch’s crew chief said. “We just didn’t start off right there. He (Busch) wasn’t happy with it and then I’m not sure what happened. We spun out there on our own and the 29 (Clint Bowyer) ran into us a little bit or we collected the wall, whatever happened.

“From that point on we were just trying to survive. The guys did a good job on pit road. We just fell a little bit short of clinching it. I think all we have to do is start next week and we’ll be the champions for 2009. We’re happy about that, we wish we would have had a better run today at Phoenix. Clinching the title today would have been great. But, of course it would have been great to do it last week. It just wasn’t meant to be today. All we have to do is start next week and we should have it.”

Kevin Harvick finished second in the race and Reed Sorenson was third.

Fourth was Clint Bowyer while Brad Keselowski, who is third in points but eliminated from title contention, was fifth.

Busch’s quest to head to Homestead with the title in hand took an early hit when he lost control of his car and spun coming out of Turn 2. He headed to the pits for repairs and returned to the track 35th.

But he quickly began moving forward and with 20 laps to go, still was in position to clinch.

However, he complained of a loss of power and slipped backward just enough to ensure that the championship would not be decided this weekend.

Not all the action centered on the championship.

Late in the race, Keselowski and Denny Hamlin re-fired their long-standing feud. They bumped a couple of times and finally, Keselowski punted Hamlin into the wall.

They blamed each other.

Hamlin was asked if he thought NASCAR should take action against Keselowski, who has shown aggressiveness on the track all year long.

Nah, Hamlin said, he would take care of the matter himself next week at Homestead.

“I can sit here and bash him and give yall some good soundbites,” Hamlin said. “I’m just glad I signed up for next week’s” race.

(This story will be updated shortly)

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, November 14 2009
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