2007 NASCAR Busch Series


2007 NASCAR Busch Series

The 26th season of the NASCAR Busch Series began on February 17, 2007, with the Orbitz 300 at Daytona International Speedway and concluded on November 17, 2007, with the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Carl Edwards clinched the Busch Series championship on November 3 during the O'Reilly Challenge with 2 races remaining. The 2007 season was the final season of the series under Anheuser-Busch's sponsorship. In 2008 the Busch Series became the NASCAR Nationwide Series sponsored by insurance company Nationwide Insurance with a $70 million dollar contract for 7 years.

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Busch Whackers

The domination of the series by the Busch Whackers continued in 2007. In the first 28 races, only two drivers not with regular NEXTEL Cup schedules drove their cars to victory from start to finish: Stephen Leicht (Meijer 300, Kentucky Speedway) and Jason Leffler (Kroger 200, O'Reilly Raceway Park). Aric Almirola was the official winner of the AT&T 250 at the Milwaukee Mile, but Denny Hamlin finished the race for him. Meanwhile, Carl Edwards led Kevin Harvick by 733 points in the championship standings, a reversal from 2006 when Harvick beat Edwards by a record 824 points. At one time, Edwards' lead was 871 points prior to a stretch of five consecutive races outside the top 10 in the finishing order (in three of those races he finished 23rd or worse). There were more Busch only regulars near the top of the standings, but only because the Cup drivers ran fewer cumulative races than in 2006.

Owner's Championship

The Owner's Championship went to the #29 car of Richard Childress Racing driven by Scott Wimmer and Jeff Burton. This is currently only the second time in Busch Series history where the driver's and owner's points champions were different. [ [http://www.nascar.com/2007/news/headlines/bg/12/04/champions.week.preview/index.html NASCAR.com: Busch Series will honor two champions at banquet] ] The other instance is in 2003 where Brian Vickers was the driver's champion and RCR drivers Harvick and Johnny Sauter combined to win Childress the owner's championship.

2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series

After 26 years of Anheuser-Busch sponsoring the series with their Busch Beer brand they decided not to renew their sponsorship for the 2008 season. Rumored sponsorship deals for the series included Subway, KFC, and Wal-Mart however those deals fell through. On October 3 2007, chairman Brian France announced that insurance company Nationwide had signed a seven year $70 million dollar deal to sponsor the series. Nationwide also replaces Allstate as the official insurance company of NASCAR. [ [http://www.nationwide.com/nw/newsroom/press-releases/nascar-partnership/nascar-partnership.htm Nationwide.com: Nationwide grabs NASCAR Busch Series Sponsorship] ]

chedule

The official 2007 Busch Series schedule was announced on October 2, 2006. The only major schedule change was the addition of the first NASCAR race in Canada at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which replaces last years race at Martinsville. This marked the first time in Busch Series history that there are two consecutive road courses on the schedule. The order of races in July was also shuffled. [ [http://www.nascar.com/races/bg/2007/data/schedule.html NASCAR.com: 2007 NASCAR Busch Series Schedule] ]

Did not Qualify: #1-J.J. Yeley, #22-David Stremme, #23-Brad Keselowski, #24-Casey Mears, #52-Brad Teague, #70-Justin Diercks

tater Brothers 300

The Stater Brothers 300 was held February 24 at the California Speedway. Dave Blaney won the pole, the first pole for Toyota in the Busch Series. The race had a short field of only 41 cars.

Top Ten Results:

Did not Qualify: None.

"NOTE: #52-Kevin Lepage withdrew from the race prior to qualifying.

Nicorette 300

The Nicorette 300 was held March 17 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch won the pole. From the drop of the green flag, it appeared as though Kyle Busch would walk away with an easy victory. He proved his dominance by leading 143 of 195 laps. However, a loose lugnut after the final pitstop forced Busch to go to the tail end of the longest line, handing the lead to Jeff Burton. Burton would hold off RCR teammate Kevin Harvick for the win while Kyle Busch rallied to third after his penalty.

Top Ten Results:

Did not Qualify: None only 43 entries.

O'Reilly 300

The O'Reilly 300 was held April 14 at Texas Motor Speedway. David Ragan won his first career Busch Pole Award. The race, for the third time of the season, was dominated again by Kyle Busch, who hoped to turn his strong runs into a win. However, that day would not come as an unlucky caution during a green flag pit stop would again cost Kyle the victory. Former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya appeared to have his second Busch Series win in the bag until he hit the clutch during a pit stop, leaving him with a loose lugnut. Juan would tangle with fellow rookie Marcos Ambrose and finish 30th. Denny Hamlin would hold the lead until Matt Kenseth, who had recovered from an early spin, took the lead with 11 laps left and would go on to win in Texas.

Top Ten Results:

Did not Qualify: None only 42 entries.

Circuit City 250

The Circuit City 250 presented by Funai was held on May 4 at Richmond International Raceway. Denny Hamlin won the pole. In the Busch Series' first Friday night shootout of the season, Kevin Harvick aimed to make it a four-peat of consecutive wins at RIR. From the outset, polesitter Denny Hamlin dominated but was taken out early by Matt Kenseth. From there, Kenseth, Jeff Burton, and Clint Bowyer would establish themselves as the frontrunners. Matt Kenseth looked to have the race locked up until J.J. Yeley spun on lap 222 and cutting Kenseth's 2 second lead. During the final pitstop of the night, Kenseth would have a mishap with the jack and would end up coming out behind Bowyer and Burton. On the last restart of the night, Bowyer pulled away from Kenseth and Buron to snap Harvick's win streak but give owner Richard Childress his fourth consecutive victory at RIR.

Top Ten Results:

Did not Qualify: #0-Eric McClure, #32-Bill Elliott, #72-Kevin Lepage, #95-Blake Feese

Dover 200

The Dover 200 was held June 2 at Dover International Speedway. Denny Hamlin won the pole. The race would end up being dominated by Carl Edwards, whom many had dubbed the "Concrete Conqueror" for his victories on concrete. True to his nickname, Edwards dominated the race, leading for 122 of the 200 laps.

Top Ten Results:

Did not Qualify: #76-Jerick Johnson

AT&T 250

The AT&T 250 took place on June 23 at The Milwaukee Mile. Aric Almirola won the pole, but in an interesting twist, the #20's regular driver, Denny Hamlin, was late getting back from Sonoma, so Almirola took the green flag. The race would be again dominated by Carl Edwards, who was looking to bounce back from his worst finish of the year (33rd at Kentucky). Edwards had the field covered, leading for 123 laps until an unscheduled pit stop forced Edwards down pit road and pinned him a lap down. A tough decision had to be made by Dave Rogers, crew chief on the 20. Hamlin had arrived on the track at lap 43, and Almirola was still running in third. Rogers decided to put Hamlin in the car at lap 59 instead of leaving Almirola in it. The decision, although tough, paid off as Hamlin held off Wisconsin native Scott Wimmer to cross the start/finish line in first, but Almirola was credited with his first career NASCAR Busch Series victory. Hamlin also became the first relief driver to finish first since Jack Ingram handed his car over to Harry Gant at Darlington Raceway and finished first.

Top Ten Results:

Did not Qualify: None only 42 entries.

USG Durock 300

The USG Durock 300 was held on July 14 at the Chicagoland Speedway. Denny Hamlin won the pole. Fresh off of his first victory of the season, Kyle Busch would again take command of the race. However, this race featured many contending drivers, including the likes of Matt Kenseth, Busch Series points leader Carl Edwards, and the Richard Childress Racing trio of Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, and Clint Bowyer. The race would feature many twists, including many of the above mentioned drivers struggling to simply get onto pit road for a pit stop. For Burton, his problem was heavily documented by ABC as he was enduring 100 degree heat inside his car without a working AC system. Eventually, the moment of the race would be decided under a caution flag. As Kyle Busch, who was leading the race, ducked down pit road, it appeared as though all of the leaders would follow suit. However, the other leaders faked the dominant Busch onto pit road, forcing the frustrated driver to rally to 5th by the end. Up front, Kevin Harvick pulled away from Matt Kenseth to become the first Busch Series repeat winner at Chicagoland.

Top Ten Results:

Did not Qualify: #00-Mike Potter

"NOTE: Following the race, Greg Biffle was fined $5,000 and place on probation until December 31st for failing to meet his post-race media obligations.

NAPA Auto Parts 200

The inaugural NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge took place on August 4 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montréal, Quebec, Canada. This was the Busch Series second international road course and the first time that any of NASCAR's top three series has gone to Canada. Canadian native and ex-Champ Car driver Patrick Carpentier won his first career pole. The race would be dominated by former V8 Supercars champion and Busch Series rookie Marcos Ambrose. However, road course ringers such as Scott Pruett and Nic Jonsson, "Buschwhackers" Carl Edwards, Robby Gordon, and Kevin Harvick, along with Canadian natives Ron Fellows and Carpentier. The race was prediceted to be a wreckfest due to the many hard braking points along the circuit. However, there were only five caution flags, with three for blown engines. With the race winding down, many drivers tried desperate moves to get to the front. The excitement started when Harvick tangled with road course ringers Pruett and Fellows, causing a major pileup involving the likes of Jeff Burton, Brad Coleman, and Andy Pilgrim. However, Robby Gordon was thought to have made the winning pass of Ambrose in Turn 3 before Ambrose spun Gordon out. During the ensuing caution, Gordon had not maintained the minimum speed limit to maintain one's position, and was to be placed behind Ron Fellows. Gordon, however, could not find Fellows' car and was black flagged. In an unsurprising move, Gordon bumped back Ambrose and spun him out, handing the race lead to Kevin Harvick. Going from last to first, and being on a shaky fuel milage strategy, Harvick held off polesitter Carpentier to win the inaugural Busch Series race in Montreal.  Gordon was disqualifed from his position, and suspended for the NEXTEL Cup Pennsylvania 500 the following day.  Two days later, Gordon was docked $35,000 (US), and was placed on probation for the rest of 2007.NASCAR Statement on Montreal race from nascarmedia.com“Once the caution came out on Lap 72 the field was frozen. Once the field is frozen, all cars must maintain cautious pace in order to be scored.“At the time that the field was frozen, the 59 was in the lead.  The 55 did not maintain cautious pace and by NASCAR rule, cars not maintaining cautious pace are scored only when they blend back into the continuous line. The 55 based on our scoring was ordered to blend back in behind the 33 [and] in front of the 7. “The tower ordered the 55 multiple times to get in to position. The directive was acknowledged by the crew chief of the 55 and the crew chief also communicated the order to the driver of the 55. The driver ignored NASCAR’s directive.“He was warned that he would be black flagged if he did not comply. Once the 55 crossed the start-finish line he was posted per the NASCAR rule book and at that time the directive to display the black flag was given. “After contact with the 59 on Lap 73, NASCAR took emergency action per the rule book Section12-2 thus parking the 55, which was also ignored. The black flag with the white cross was displayed to the 55 when it crossed the start-finish line on lap 74. The 55 finished the race in the 18th position.”Top Ten Results:

Did not Qualify: #0-Eric McClure, #71-Ron Young

Food City 250

The Food City 250 was held on August 24 at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Jason Leffler won the pole. Based on the racing that the truck race provided, the Busch race was expected to be no different with the use of the outside lane and more two wide racing. From the green, it appeared as though Jeff Burton would have the car to beat. However, his night ended abruptly when Eric McClure blew a right front tire in front of Burton, handing the lead back to Leffler. Pit strategy and tires were key in this race, as the lead was traded between Kyle Busch, Leffler, David Reutimann, and Ryan Newman. One highlight of the race was when the red flag came out during the middle of this race for a hard crash between rookie Marcos Ambrose and Robert Richardson Busch's shot at victory would end with a controversial commitment line violation, although commentator Andy Petree noted that Busch did fake going onto pit road. Back at the front, the lead had been given to Ryan Newman, who was on 170 lap old tires. However, the cars of Kasey Kahne, Jason Leffler, and David Reutimann were all lurking in Newmans mirror. Finally, with 10 laps to go, Kahne made a daring three wide pass on Newman and Leffler going into turn one. The inevitable contact ruined Newman's right front tire, ending his night. Surprisingly, with 2 laps to go, NASCAR on ESPN lost its satellite feed, ruining the suspenseful finish for TV viewers. ESPN came back with Kahne taking the checkers and Leffler spinning across the line in second after a tap from Reutimann.

Top Ten Results:

Did not Qualify: #0-Eric McClure, #89-Morgan Shepherd

RoadLoans.com 200

The RoadLoans.com 200 was held September 22 at Dover International Speedway. Greg Biffle won the pole. During NASCAR on ESPN's broadcast, it was documented that Denny Hamlin had a case of the flu and had future teammate Kyle Busch standing by. The other story of the day was the amount of so-called "young guns" such as Brad Keselowski, Steve Wallace, Danny Efland, Kyle Krisiloff, and development drivers Landon Cassil and Brad Keselowski. The high number of these young drivers combined with the tricky and physically demanding "Monster Mile" made into a crashfest, including 13 caution flags. The big highlight of the race was when Robby Gordon was attempting to block the #41 of Reed Sorenson. Tony Raines was clipped by Gordon. In a fit of rage, and due to the fact that Tony's sposor, RoadLoans.com, was sponsoring the race, exited his car, and threw his helmet at Gordon. However, the helmet missed and bounced off another car. In the melee, many strong cars, such as those of polesitter Biffle and Mike Bliss had pit problems early on, but both rallied to finish fourth and ninth, respectively. However, making no mistakes at all was Denny Hamlin, who avoided the carnage to dominate, leading 138 of 200 laps, holding off hometown hero Martin Truex Jr. for his third win of the season.

Top Ten Results:

Did not Qualify: #0-Eric McClure, #61-Travis Kittleson, #72-D. J. Kennington

am's Town 250

The Sam's Town 250 was held September 27 at Memphis Motorsports Park. Marcos Ambrose won his first NASCAR career pole. This race marked the Busch Series debut of 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner and 2007 IndyCar season champion Dario Franchitti, as well as Rolex Sports Car Series driver Colin Braun. Also, 18-year-old Chase Austin became the first African-American to start a Busch Series race since Bill Lester in 1999. The race would be dominated by crashes, including one that thwarted Edwards' bid to lock up the championship. Through all the wrecks, a previously winless Reutimann dominated the race, holding off Mike Bliss and David Ragan on a green-white-checkered finish to win his first career Busch Series race and the second for Toyota on a short track. The race was slowed by 25 cautions a record for the year and 1 caution short of the Series all time record.

Top Ten Results:

Did not Qualify: #0-Eric McClure, #34-Brian Pannone, #44-Jennifer Jo Cobb, #89-Morgan Shepherd

Ford 300

The Ford 300 was held November 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. David Ragan won the pole (David chose to start the race in the outside lane rather than the inside lane; all pole winners are given this option in NASCAR races). This was the final race with Anheuser-Busch sponsorship, and Carl Edwards was officially crowned the 2007 and final Busch Series champion, as Nationwide Insurance takes over in 2008. Jeff Burton would take the final checkered flag of 2007 and with it, Richard Childress' third owner's championship.

Top Ten Results:

Did not Qualify: #0-Eric McClure, #01-Kertus Davis, #44-Jennifer Jo Cobb, #72-D. J. Kennington

References

ee also

*2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
*2007 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series


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