Winners: 2011 NASCAR Champions

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Austin Dillon
NASCAR Nationwide Series: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Tony Stewart

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series Year in Review

Kyle Busch cruised to his first NASCAR national touring series championship in 2009, winning the Nationwide Series title by 210 points over 2007 series champion Carl Edwards. Busch won a series-high nine races to go along with 25 top-5s and 30 top-10s -- an average finish of 6.4.

Busch finished second 11 times on the season -- which might've annoyed him, but certainly helped propel the Las Vegas native to the championship in a year that saw his Sprint Cup operation stumble and miss the Chase.

Busch took the points lead after the first Phoenix race, where he finished 10th. He finished outside the Top 10 just four times after taking the points lead, logging seven of his nine wins and 10 of his second-place finishes in that span. Try as he might, Edwards -- who won five races to go along with 23 top-5s and 30 top-10s -- simply couldn't catch up.

Busch won his first race of the season at Fontana in February, and when he took the checkered flag at Nashville in June, it kicked off a streak in which Busch finished first or second in 10 straight races.

Full-time Cup Series drivers won 30 of the 35 races on the schedule last season; Nationwide Series regulars who weren't also full-time Cup drivers didn't reach Victory Lane until Mike Bliss won a rain-shortened race at Charlotte back in May. Brad Keselowski, driving for Hendrick Motorsports-affiliated JR Motorsports, won the other four races en route to logging 22 Top-5s and 28 Top-10s, finishing third in the season standings for the second straight year.

Keselowski might've been more of a factor in the title race had it not been for early-season disappointments. He opened the season with finishes of 22nd, 27th, 27th and 12th, falling victim to incidents not of his doing before finally logging his first top-5 -- a third-place finish at Texas. Keselowski then went through a stretch where his worst finish was 11th (Darlington) and he picked up his first win of the season at Dover.

After finishing 18th at Chicago, Keselowski finished in the top 10 the rest of the way -- until he finished 12th in the season finale at Homestead-Miami. Along the way, Keselowski also won the inaugural race at Iowa, before taking checkered flags at Michigan and Memphis.

Bliss went on to finish fifth in the point standings, despite losing his full-time ride with James Finch during the season. Bliss put together a patchwork of rides to finish the season -- ending the year with four top-10s in the last five races. Bliss had seven top-5s and 15 top-10s on the season.

2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series Winners
Daytona -- Tony Stewart
Fontana -- Kyle Busch
Las Vegas -- Greg Biffle
Bristol -- Kevin Harvick
Texas -- Kyle Busch
Nashville -- Joey Logano
Phoenix -- Greg Biffle
Talladega -- David Ragan
Richmond -- Kyle Busch
Darlington -- Matt Kenseth
Charlotte -- Mike Bliss
Dover -- Brad Keselowski
Nashville -- Kyle Busch
Kentucky -- Joey Logano
Milwaukee -- Carl Edwards
Loudon -- Kyle Busch
Daytona -- Clint Bowyer
Chicago -- Joey Logano
Gateway -- Kyle Busch
ORP -- Carl Edwards
Iowa -- Brad Keselowski
Watkins Glen -- Marcos Ambrose
Michigan -- Brad Keselowski
Bristol -- David Ragan
Montreal -- Carl Edwards
Atlanta -- Kevin Harvick
Richmond -- Carl Edwards
Dover -- Clint Bowyer
Kansas -- Joey Logano
Fontana -- Joey Logano
Charlotte -- Kyle Busch
Memphis -- Brad Keselowski
Texas -- Kyle Busch
Phoenix -- Carl Edwards
Homestead -- Kyle Busch

Coming Next Week: 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Year in Review

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