Congratulations to the champions of the three top NASCAR divisions. Ted Musgrave, despite winning only one race this season, won the Craftsman Truck series title. The Busch series crown went to Martin Truex, Jr for the second consecutive year and Tony Stewart won the Nextel Cup championship, the second of his career.
The 49-year old Musgrave became NASCAR’s oldest champion by winning the truck title. Musgrave, a former Cup driver, won the title that he eluded him in prior years. He posted a second place finish and three third place finishes over the past four seasons. Musgrave finished with one win, 11 top-fives, and 15 top-tens in 25 races. Dennis Setzer finished 55 points behind Musgrave for his third consecutive runner-up finish. Todd Bodine, winner of the last three truck races, finished in third position. Roush Racing phenom Todd Kluever, who won Roush’s &uot;Gong Show&uot; last season, earned the Rookie of the Year title. Kluever has also been tapped to step into Mark Martin’s no. 6 car in 2007.
Speaking of the Gong Show, have you checked out the Roush Racing: Driver X series on the Discovery Channel? Pretty cool show; see how Roush is auditioning 20 unknown drivers to pick a new driver on the truck series next year.
Martin Truex, Jr. won the Busch series championship with six wins, 15 top-fives, and 22 top-ten finishes in 35 races. Truex, who is moving up to the cup series next year, gives DEI four career Busch championships. Clint Bowyer finished 68 points behind Truex, with Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson, and Denny Hamlin rounding out the top five. All five of these drivers will run a full cup season next year. Despite not being eligible for the cup Rookie of the Year, Carl Edwards won that title in the Busch series. That one will make you scratch your head.
Truex is fortunate that Ryan Newman was not entered into more Busch races. Newman drove in nine races, won six and finished in the top-five eight times. A 66% winning percentage is not too bad.
Tony Stewart won the second annual edition of the Chase for the Cup. Stewart, who also won the title in 2002, becomes one of two active drivers with multiple championships. Jeff Gordon is the other with four titles. Stewart stayed out of trouble the entire year, a huge accomplishment for him considering past years. He won five races, earned 17 top-fives, and 25 top-tens. Greg Biffle, the first of three Roush racers to finish in the top five, finished 35 points behind Stewart. Carl Edwards, Mark Martin, and Jimmie Johnson complete the top five. Kyle Busch won the Rookie of the Year
Stewart didn’t have a bad year financially. His purse winnings totaled $6.9 million and the bonus for winning the title is almost $6 million. Not a bad year’s salary.
See you next week.