HOMESTEAD, Fla. - Mark Martin, who has won more Busch Series races than anybody, appreciated Jeff Burton’s act-like-he’s-been there attitude after Burton won the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday.
When Burton crossed the finish line, he merely drove his Chevy back to Victory Lane. No smoky “donuts” on the frontstretch.
“He’s old school,” said Martin, who has 48 career victories in the Busch Series, which changes to the Nationwide Series in 2008. “All those burnouts are juvenile.”
Martin didn’t mention acrobatics – which is what series champ Carl Edwards usually performs in the form of a backflip off his car when he wins a race.
There was none of that Saturday from Edwards, who had already clinched the title two weeks ago at Texas and finished fourth. He finished with a 618-point margin over second-place David Reutimann.
Martin was second and Matt Kenseth finished fourth.
“It was cool to race with Mark at the end,” said Edwards. “He inspired me early in my career.”
Edwards said he would continue to race in both the Nextel Cup (which will be called the Sprint Cup) and Nationwide series next year.
“The racing is the easy part,” he said. “We need a faster airplane and that will give me more time to do more things.”
Pole-winner David Ragan, who wrecked on Lap 170 and finished 33rd, won the series’ rookie-of-the-year award.
Burton won a race that was marred by 12 cautions for 48 laps. By just starting the race, he also clinched the owner championship for Richard Childress Racing. Burton and Scott Wimmer shared the driving responsibilities for Childress’s Busch team, which was directed by crew chief Pat Smith.
“I knew if I put something (good) underneath them each week, we’d have an opportunity to win,” said Smith.
Although the series will remain under a new name, Childress thought the end of Busch’s run ended neatly.
“Dale Earnhardt won the very first Busch race (in 1982),” said Childress of the legendary driver who would eventually drive for him. “For RCR to win the last one is special.”