Busch Finishes 18th Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway

November 22, 2010

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Nov. 21, 2010) - Miller Lite Dodge driver Kurt Busch showed much promise in the opening laps of Sunday's Ford 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2010 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway only to see an early incident claim his car's competitive strength. Even after battling back on several occasions, he was forced to settle for an 18th-place finish, which placed him 11th in the final point standings for the year.

"It was just a tough day for our Miller Lite Dodge team," said a disappointed Busch back in the garage after the race concluded. "We really had running the high line around this place figured out in yesterday's final practice and it showed at the beginning of the race. We started 15th, but blasted up to eight before the 00 (David Reutimann) got out of shape and up into the wall. We had nowhere to go and just plowed into the rear of his car and sideswiped the fence. That took our entire aero package away and ended our chances of having another great finish here. Before the run-in, the car was a little bit loose, but as fast as the leaders until we got all bent up. Then we fought a tight condition for the rest of the race. It was just so bent up that all the adjustments did little to help.

"With about 100 laps to go, we stayed out and took the wave-around to get back on the lead lap," Busch added. "Then under yellow with 80 to go, we were able to put it up on plates and get the tow-in straightened out. That really got the car running better. We made a run back up into the top 15, but the 9 car checked up and the 98 blocked us and we were in the wall again. We caught a break when the caution came out for Kyle's (Busch's) crash and the leaders had pitted (and he hadn't), but it was too little too late. We really wanted to have a great run here in our final race in the "Blue Deuce", but it just wasn't meant to be."

Busch's 180-race run as the driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge dates back to the 2006 season-opening battle at Daytona. During that period, he has recorded eight points-paying race wins, a victory in the 2010 Sprint Cup All-Star Race, 37 top-five finishes, 74 top-10s and nine Coors Light Pole Awards.

Of course, the big story of the day at Homestead was the battle down to the wire for the 2010 Sprint Cup points title. Jimmie Johnson, who finished second in Sunday's race, claimed his fifth consecutive championship. Denny Hamlin, who entered today's race with a 15-point advantage, finished 14th and had to settle for the runner-up spot, trailing Johnson by 39 points at the conclusion of the 36-race grind. Kevin Harvick, who finished third in the race, finished third in the points and was 41 points behind Johnson.

Busch entered Sunday's race 10th in the points, but dropped to 11th as Clint Bowyer's 12th-place finish today was enough to vault him in front of Busch.

Carl Edwards came home the winner in today's race by 1.608 seconds over Johnson. Harvick was third, with Aric Almirola fourth and A.J. Allmendinger fifth. Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle rounded out the top-10 finishers.

Brad Keselowski led the three-team Penske Racing contingent here today with his 13th-place finish. Sam Hornish Jr. finished 24th.

The 2010 Sprint Cup "Chase" points concluded looking like this: (rank, car #, driver, points, and points behind 1st)

1) #48-Jimmie Johnson [6 wins], 6622; 5 Time Champion
2) #11-Denny Hamlin [8 wins], 6583, -39
3) #29-Kevin Harvick [3 wins], 6581, -41
4) #99-Carl Edwards [2 wins], 6393, -229
5) #17-Matt Kenseth, 6294, -328
6) #16-Greg Biffle [2 wins], 6247, -375
7) #14-Tony Stewart [2 wins], 6221, -401
8) #18-Kyle Busch [3 wins], 6182, -440
9) #24-Jeff Gordon, 6176, -446
10) #33-Clint Bowyer [1 win], 6155, -467
11) #2-Kurt Busch [2 wins], 6142, -480
12) #31-Jeff Burton, 6033, -589

Keselowski unofficially finished 25th in the 2010 Sprint Cup point standings, while Hornish was shown in the 29th spot.

The lone event remaining on the 2010 schedule is the Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony on Friday, Dec. 3 in Las Vegas. The annual awards banquet will honor the top 10 drivers from the 2010 season and culminates with the recognition of the 2010 series champion. It will be televised live at 9:00 p.m. EST on Dec. 3 on SPEED.