Roush Enjoys Memorable Season

To say 2002 was a memorable season for car owner Jack Roush is a bit of an understatement. From a near death experience in a small plane crash to a shot at the Winston Cup title with a Busch championship thrown in for good measure, it was a year that Roush will never forget.

No one was better than Roush's Mark Martin and Kurt Busch in the final six races of the 2002 season. Busch closed out his second season of Winston Cup racing with a bang, winning three of the last five races, collecting wins at Martinsville, Atlanta and Homestead. All in all, Busch and the No. 97 Rubbermaid Racing team scored 1,007 points and ran to four top five and five top-10 finishes in the final five races.

The strong finish left Busch geared up and chomping at the bit for next season.

"From my perspective, this Rubbermaid team couldn't have finished the year stronger. With five races to go, I told my guys that I wanted five-top ten finishes. We did even better than that. We got four top-five finishes and a sixth place finish. We won three of them and managed to get our first Bud Pole of the year in the final race. I might be the only driver sad to see this 2002 season come to an end, but I can tell you that this Rubbermaid team is really geared up for 2003."

Martin finished out the year with five straight top-five runs. With the championship on the line, Martin and the No. 6 ViagraĆ¢ (sildenafil citrate) Racing team turned it up a notch scoring top-four finishes in each of the final three races of the year, while scoring 876 points along the way.

"We were really on to something by the end of the season," said Martin. "The guys were giving me really good cars and we were competitive all the way. We beat the No. 20 car in three straight races to end the season and that might be what I'm most proud of. That's a really tall order.

"I don't know if that will mean anything going into next season, but I do know that we fought to the very last lap. I think we will be able to keep most of our team in tact next year and that's a great thing. It's a great bunch of guys and they provided me with great cars all year long. Next year we are just going to do the same thing we did this year, and that is come out and try to win races."

Roush Racing's Jeff Burton was the fourth best driver down the stretch. Burton and the No. 99 CITGO Racing team found their rhythm late, scoring three top-10 and two top-five finishes in the season's final six races, while tallying 842 points in the six-race span.
For Burton it was important to end the season on a strong note.

"The CITGO team didn't have a year like we would have liked. We've made some changes and the last several races were pretty good for us.

"We made the changes with about 10 races to go and I've always said it was an investment into a future championship. The CITGO team started to show consistency at the end of the year and we were looking more like the team I know we are. I'm real excited about 2003. This was a great year for Roush Racing overall, but I think 2003 will be even better."

Matt Kenseth ran to three top 10 finishes and a win at Phoenix down the stretch, and he'll be looking for even bigger rewards in 2003.

"You worry if you'll have the same success when the 2003 season starts," said Kenseth. "It's been an amazing turnaround and I'm looking forward to next season and competing for a Winston Cup Championship title."

All in all, Roush Racing scored four wins, 10 top-five finishes, 16 top-10 and one pole during the season's final six races. All of which, except for a seventh place finish by Jeff Burton at Charlotte, were tallied during the final five races of the season.

For the season, Roush tallied 10 wins, 40 top-five finishes and 75 top-10 finishes in the Winston Cup Series.

Related Topics:

NASCAR Sprint Cup, 2002, Jeff Burton

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