Kyle Busch earned his 13th win of the season in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Homestead- Miami Speedway.
Busch’s win enabled Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) to earn its third straight NNS owner’s championship — the second consecutive title for the No. 18 Camry. The No. 20 Camry earned the title in 2008.
Busch led seven times for a race-high 153 laps (of 200) at the 1.5-mile oval.
Camry drivers earned 17 series victories in 2010 and have won 54 races since the manufacturer joined the series in 2007.
Joey Logano (seventh), Brendan Gaughan (eighth) and Jason Leffler (10th) also earned top-10 results for Toyota.
Other Camry drivers in the field included Martin Truex Jr. (12th), Reed Sorenson (14th), Steve Wallace (15th), David Reutimann (16th), Cole Whitt (17th), Brian Scott (18th), Michael Annett (24th), Kasey Kahne (38th) and Kevin Lepage (41st).
Eight Toyota drivers ended the season in the top-15 in the unofficial NNS driver points, including Busch (third), Logano (eighth), Leffler (ninth), Wallace (10th), Gaughan (11th), Sorenson (12th), Annett (13th) and Scott (14th).
KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 1st Can you describe what it means to you to earn your second win and owner’s championship this weekend at Homestead? “You don’t right now. You just come out here and enjoy it. All of these guys from Joe Gibbs Racing, everybody from Z-Line Designs — Jim and Monica (Sexton, Z-Line Design owners) are here to help us celebrate. This Toyota was fast, man. I just can’t thank these guys enough. They do a great job at Joe Gibbs Racing — the chassis shop, the body shop, everybody. They put it all together for us in these last three seasons. It’s a shame to see this car go, but we’ve got a new priority here next year. It will be fun. It will be a new challenge for us. I can’t thank NOS Energy Drink enough, Combos, M&M’s, Interstate Batteries, Nationwide Insurance for a great series. This has been so much fun. It’s been cool to come out here and enjoy and celebrate with all of these guys. They deserve to celebrate as much as anybody. I can’t thank the fans enough of course.” What happened on the last pass for the lead? “It was a battle. Kevin (Harvick) was a great race tonight and he had a great race car. I just can’t thank these guys at Joe Gibbs Racing enough — the engine shop, the chassis, bodies, everybody that builds these race cars. All of the guys that are standing here behind me that come out here and pit these things. They do a wonderful job and they deserve to celebrate and they deserve to celebrate long and hard for this one. Being the owner’s champion is really special to us. That’s what we set out to do at the beginning of the year. A great race out there. (Kevin) Harvick was strong and I just got a good restart there on that last one. I had to work for it, it wasn’t easy. I started getting tight there at the end of the race, but I had just enough there to beat him out.” Would you have thought you would win 13 races in 2010 at the beginning of this year? “I would’ve said I wish. I thought eight or nine (wins) is doable, but 13 that’s really hard to do. I couldn’t do it without all of these guys. I’m going to be selfish and say that I wish we had 15, you know, because I feel that we could’ve won that many this year. We’ve had a few taken away from us, but it wasn’t due to lack of effort. These guys gave it their all. Now we can go to the banquet on Monday night and have a really good party with all of us on stage too.” Do you think you win tomorrow’s Cup race and sweep all three races this weekend? “The Cup car is pretty good. I like it. Dave (Rogers, crew chief) has done a really nice job. It’s just going to be all about patience and coming through the heat of the day. We’re going to have a lot of sun out there tomorrow and it’s going to be hot and it’s going to be slick so you’ve got to have a car that definitely handles well at the beginning of the run, but one that definitely handles well at the end of the run as well.”
J.D. GIBBS, president, Joe Gibbs Racing How much does it mean to your organization to win another owner’s championship? “It’s a huge deal for us. You kind of look back, and we started it in the first year with Bobby Labonte. All we learned over the years was what not to do and what to do. Watching Kyle (Busch) and Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) and those guys coming together, and Brad (Coleman) in there as well, it’s just a blessing for us.”
JOE GIBBS, team owner, Joe Gibbs Racing How exciting is this for your organization to win its third straight owner’s championship? “We’re thrilled. I think that’s been well documented. Our struggles the first years in Nationwide Series and how hard it was for us. I really appreciate Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief), the team here, Brad (Coleman) — Safeway Driving Schools. I also want to say thanks to Combos, Interstate Batteries and NOS. It’s really hard to put together a team like that to allow us to race in the Nationwide Series. But with Kyle (Busch), we really appreciate it. We’re thrilled to be a part of it. J.D. (Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing president) works mostly on the Nationwide side, and I take the credit for it. In any case, it’s a thrill for us and I appreciate it. One thing I left out front, too, is Toyota. I really want to make sure that the championship there and what they’ve done for us, we couldn’t be up here if it wasn’t for Toyota. I really appreciate them.”
JASON RATCLIFF, crew chief, No. 18 Z-Line Designs Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing How exciting is it for your team to win another owner’s championship and end the season with a win? “It was obviously a tremendous blessing for us to have the opportunity to be close to winning another owner’s championship with Kyle (Busch) and Brad (Coleman) this year in the car, both of them did an outstanding job. Last week, we felt like we had a pretty good — as far as the point’s lead goes last week — we had some trouble at Phoenix, kind of like we did last year. So it’s very gratifying to come into Homestead and have the kind of run that we had tonight. We were able to close the deal. The guys again did a great job on pit road. The guys, the mechanics that turned the wrench on this car, they did a great job preparing it at the shop. Lot of effort went into this car this week, lot of studying, lot of notes, and it paid off for us in the end.”
JOEY LOGANO, No. 20 GameStop/MASTIFF Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position: 7th How was your race today? “We ran eighth or ninth all day. The car went from too loose and can’t drive the thing to being so tight that you can’t go anywhere. We were at both ends of the spectrum today and didn’t go anywhere. It’s disappointing to end the season that way.”
BRENDAN GAUGHAN, No. 62 Aspen Dental Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finishing Position: 8th
JASON LEFFLER, No. 10 ABF U-Pack Moving Toyota Camry, Braun Racing Finishing Position: 10th
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 99 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota Camry, Diamond Waltrip Racing Finishing Position: 12th
REED SORENSON, No. 32 Dollar General Toyota Camry, Braun Racing Finishing Position: 14th
STEVE WALLACE, No. 66 5-Hour Energy Toyota Camry, Rusty Wallace Racing Finishing Position: 15th
DAVID REUTIMANN, No. 11 Rexall/Dollar General Toyota Camry, Braun Racing Finishing Position: 16th
COLE WHITT, No. 84 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team Finishing Position: 17th
BRIAN SCOTT, No. 09 Shore Lodge Toyota Camry, RAB Racing Finishing Position: 18th
MICHAEL ANNETT, No. 15 Germain.com Toyota Camry, Germain Racing Finishing Position: 24th
KASEY KAHNE, No. 38 Great Clips Toyota Camry, Braun Racing Finishing Position: 38th What happened to take you out of the race? “It looks like (Justin) Allgaier just lost it to me. I’ve been in a couple of his wrecks this year as far as the Nationwide side goes. I passed the 99 (Martin Truex Jr.) on entry and I was passing the 22 (Brad Keselowski) and I was on the inside so I went left. I wish I would’ve went right — I probably could’ve missed it. It was just a bad decision or the track was kind of blocked out. Our Great Clips car was fast and I think we were going forward. It’s just kind of discouraging that our race is over.”
KEVIN LEPAGE, No. 56 Sunshine Plumbing/Mitchell Swaback Charities Toyota Camry, Mac Hill Motorsports Finishing Position: 41st