NASCAR & Auto Racing

Busch Series Notebook | Sponsor closing out 26 years of rich history, hard racing

Dale Earnhardt won the first one. Who will win the last?

Anheuser-Busch will end its 26-year history as title sponsor of the NASCAR Busch Series following the conclusion of Saturday’s Ford 300 at Homestead (Fla.)-Miami Speedway (4:30 p.m. Eastern, ESPN2).

Nationwide Insurance will take over as title sponsor beginning with the 2008 season opener at Daytona Beach, Fla.

Earnhardt, the late seven-time Cup champion, won the first Busch race in 1982 at Daytona. During the next quarter-century the series has featured numerous talented drivers – some utilizing the series as their home, others as a testing ground as they attempt to move to NASCAR’s biggest series.

Chuck Bown, the 1990 series champion, offered this assessment: “It was a heck of a lot of fun. Those were the best years of my career, really. You knew it was serious hard racing because so many of those Cup guys raced with us on a regular basis.

“When you won races or won a championship there, you did something. You made your mark in motorsports.”

Cup regular Carl Edwards has already wrapped up this season’s driver’s championship and Richard Childress Racing’s No. 29 team, featuring drivers Jeff Burton and Scott Wimmer, needs only to start Saturday’s race to clinch the owner’s title.

That still leaves one race winner to be decided. So far this season, there have been 15 different victors. Reigning series champion Kevin Harvick leads the way with six wins.

Notes

  • Roush Fenway Racing driver David Ragan appears ready to capture the series’ rookie of the year honors. Entering the final race he leads Marcos Ambrose 234-204.
  • Additional points are awarded following the race by a three-member NASCAR panel. Kyle Krisiloff trails in third with 181 points.

  • Drew Blickensderfer, crew chief for the No. 17 Ford driven by Matt Kenseth, was fined $10,000 by NASCAR after the car’s right-rear quarter panel exceeded the maximum height allowed.
  • In addition, Kenseth was stripped of 25 driver points and team owner Jack Roush was penalized 25 owner points.

  • The National Stock Car Racing Commission unanimously upheld a $15,000 fine and suspension of Gregory Tester, crew chief for the No. 71 car. He was penalized for the use of shock absorber base valves.
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