Newman Winner Truex Champion

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HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Martin Truex Jr. completed his dominating season in the only way possible, as a champion.

Truex captured his second consecutive NASCAR Busch Series Championship Saturday afternoon with a seventh-place result in the Ford 300. While he was not able to catch race winner Ryan Newman, he certainly was the happiest person in the Homestead-Miami area on the night.

"We never thought we could win the thing. Next thing you know, we are knocking on the door to winning races and finishing in the top three every week," said the elated Truex. "I couldn’t be prouder."

Truex, who led the series in miles led, laps led and money won, became the sixth driver in Busch Series history to win more than one title in their career and the fifth to do so in consecutive years. The last person to complete the feat was his team co-car owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 1998 and 1999.

"It's just a lot to be proud of, I don't think it's because it's two in a row or because Junior did it or anything," said Truex, who won the championship for Chevrolet for the 14th time in Busch Series history. "The second one was ten times harder than the first one. I am not sure why that is, I think competition was better. And we screwed up more. I think why we are more proud of this one because of the way we did it, not because it's the second one. Obviously, it gets sweeter every time."

There were many points on Saturday where it looked like Clint Bowyer could make up the difference on the new champion. In the early afternoon, Truex crashed his car during qualifying and was forced to start in the rear of the field after resorting to a back-up car. Another period of time occurred during the race when Truex went a lap down about 60 laps in the race because of loose lug nuts on a right front tire.

"I'm just glad it's over. It's been a rough day on us for sure," said the repeat champion. "I wasn't sure how (the backup car) would run because we just threw a set up that was unknown. But I had confidence in the car, it's been a really good car for us, one of my favorites. I just thank the guys they do such a great job building them and it came to the track really ready to go."

Luck was on the side of Truex, however, as he was able to rebound and get ahead of the leader before a caution came out just a few laps later due to an accident involving J.J. Yeley that allowed him to catch up to the back of the lead lap.

Even with all of the bad luck that occurred for Truex, Bowyer was never able to capitalize and mount a serious challenge for the championship, finishing the season with an eighth-place result in the Ford 300.

"That was the most we've worked on the car all year. We were doing everything we possibly could, but we just couldn't get the handle on it," said Bowyer, who rallied from earlier disappointments in the season to finish in second place. "We were quite a ways out and everybody had us wrote off probably eight races coming in but we came on strong and rallied back. It took a little bit too long to do it, but they're a championship team and to get beat by them guys isn't a bad thing."

The clinching of the championship by the No. 8 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet team overshadows the strong performance by many of the "Buschwackers" that were in the field, chief among them being Greg Biffle and race winner Ryan Newman.

Biffle, who led five times for 67 laps on the night, was pulling away from the field when a caution came out on lap 195 because of an accident involving Reed Sorenson. Once the field was brought back together, Newman was able to get past Biffle with a mere two laps remaining, staying ahead of his NEXTEL Cup counterpart for his sixth win of 2005 in the Busch Series.

"We just had a great restart. If the caution wouldn't have come out, barring anything happening to Greg, I dont think we could have won. But hey, that's racing," said the race winner. "It's a good effort by our team. Obviously great stats, but we've also had a great effort. We will try to carry it into 2006."

This was the eighth time Biffle has finished in second place this season in the Busch Series.

"It's just frustrating, you know? We were faster than him at about three laps so we needed like two more laps (to pass him)," said the disappointed Biffle. "The second place finish is a good run for us. We had a good season and we'll come back and run a few races next year. It was a pretty good run tonight."

Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard were able to finish in the top five.

Jon Wood, Truex, Bowyer, David Green and Joe Nemechek rounded out the top 10.

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