Kyle Busch got Ford Championship Weekend off to a great start with a victory in Friday night’s Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway that locked up the owners’ championship for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Today, Busch will try to do likewise in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Keselowski has long since locked up the drivers’ title, since he’s doing the full NNS schedule, while Busch has missed six races. But in the races he’s competed in, Busch has been spectacular, setting a series single-season victory record with 12 wins in 2010.
On the owners’ points side, if Keselowski wins today’s race and leads the most laps — thus earning maximum points — the No. 18 JGR team will still claim the owners’ title if Busch finishes at least fifth, or if he finishes sixth and leads at least one lap. It’s a tight battle.
Busch said he expects an exciting race this afternoon at the 1.5-mile South Florida oval.
“Homestead is a fun race track,” he said. “It’s really challenging because, the way the race changes from the beginning to the end from daytime to nighttime, and with the way your car changes from beginning to the end of your runs. You run the bottom, then you go to the top. You’re always moving around, you’re always thinking. It’s a cool race track. The sun is going to play havoc on our eyes getting down into turn one during the race.”
And the big prize, of course, would be to help JGR win the NNS owners’ championship to go along with the truck title Busch wrapped up Friday night.
“All in all, I’m looking forward to it and, hopefully, there’s another two NASCAR championships to celebrate down (here) for myself with Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series, as well as with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in the Nationwide Series – both owners’ titles – and then, hopefully, helping JGR celebrate the driver-owner (Sprint Cup) championship with Denny Hamlin,” said Busch.
As for Keselowski, he’ll have his work cut out for him today. Still, it’s been a magical season for the Michigan native, who two weeks ago in Texas wrapped up the first championship of any kind in NASCAR for team owner Roger Penske. In 34 NNS starts this year, Keselowski has posted some amazing numbers of his own, with five poles, six race victories, 25 top-five and 28 top-10 finishes.
“Winning the championship in the Nationwide Series is the culmination of a dream, not only for me, but for my family, friends and everyone who has helped me along the way to get to where I am," Keselowski said. "Winning the first championship for Mr. Penske and Penske Racing definitely adds another layer to that. It’s the product of a lot of hard work that ends with the culmination and realization of a dream that makes it very special.”
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100 and e-mail him at Jensen is the author of “Cheating: The Bad Things Good NASCAR Nextel Cup Racers Do In Pursuit of Speed,” and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Jensen is the past President of the National Motorsports Press Association and an NMPA Writer of the Year.