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Busch trying to put away Nationwide title
Upcoming races also hold promise. He has four top-10 finishes in series races at Texas, two wins and an average finish of 7.2 at Phoenix and is the defending race winner at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he has a worst finish of fourth in his last three Nationwide races. Busch, meanwhile, has a top finish of 14th in two races at Memphis. But he has three Nationwide wins at Texas and an average finish of 6.1, two wins at Phoenix and an average finish of 9.8 and a pair of top-three finishes at Homestead. Edwards, though, feels this title has not slipped out of his grasp. "The Nationwide championship is definitely still within reach," he says. "We need to win the next few races, and we need for Kyle to have a little bit of trouble. We don't ever quit, that's for sure. We have a great team, and our guys have been working hard. We're gaining on it. A couple more years to go win championships as well, so we're building for next year as we speak. Not a terrible year either way, but, hopefully, we can gain on him." Would the drivers prefer, though, to be racing under a different system in these closing races? One that, like the Sprint Cup Series, would collapse the points gap in the final races of the season and set up a showdown among the top points drivers in a format similar to the Chase for the Sprint Cup? Busch and Edwards aren't opposed to the idea. "I think it would be fun for the series," Busch said earlier this season. "The top-10 drivers get a shot at going for the championship. It would definitely shine some light further on those drivers that are further back in the points." Edwards expects that to eventually become the format for the series. That doesn't matter this season, though. Right now, these two are vying for this title. Edwards clearly has a massive deficit to overcome, a fact that hasn't escaped the attention of either driver. And while neither driver is writing up this title run just yet, Busch is hoping to clinch the championship prior to the final race of the season. "We know we need to keep up to our best game and do what we need to do in order to put this championship away," Busch said. "I would love to have done what Kevin Harvick did a couple years ago. I think the championship was over (at the Charlotte) race, he just started this race and he was done. "I wish that was the scenario that we were in. We've got a couple more weeks that we can gain some good points and, hopefully, put it away at Phoenix."
Rea White is a writer for NASCAR Scene, which is published weekly, 46 weeks per year. Visit www.scenedaily.com for more information.