Eddy McKean may have won the Cruise America 125 Thursday at Phoenix International Raceway, but Jim Pettit II captured the NASCAR Southwest Series crown.
Pettit finished fourth after only needing to finish 33rd or better to win the championship.
"I reassured my crew that you wouldn’t see me threewide with me on the outside; I told them I was going to be a carp," Pettit said. "If something happens, it goes up the racetrack and you get caught in it. We raced to win the championship."
Pettit, who won four of the 14 series races, is in his fourth full-time Southwest season and first as an owner after buying the team in the offseason.
McKean, the 2002 Southwest champion, won his third career race at PIR, edging Eric Holmes by two carlengths. Holmes won the last series race on Oct. 3 at PIR. Fan favorite Ken Schrader finished third.
McKean took the lead on lap 80 after coming out of the pits first following a caution on lap 76.
Pettit finished with 2,216 points, while Craig Raudman (2,082) and McKean (1,996) placed second and third, respectively.
Television ratings for the Busch Series have jumped for three straight weeks. Saturday’s race in Atlanta, shown on TNT, had 1,434,000 viewers, a 16 percent increase from the same race a year ago.
Viewership was up 55 percent for the Oct. 23 race on TNT and 50 percent for the Oct. 15 race, also on TNT. . . .
Richard Childress Racing will team rising talent Brandon Miller with 2001 NASCAR Busch Series champion Kevin Harvick in the No. 21 Chevrolet for the 2005 Busch Series season. Miller, who will drive in 20 of the 35 races, will replace Clint Boyer, who takes over Childress’ No. 2 for 2005.
Dodge can clinch the manufacturers’ championship with a win in today’s
Chevy Silverado 150.
Dodge has nine wins (Bobby Hamilton, four; Ted Musgrave, two; Chad Chaffin, two; and Jamie McMurray, one) while Chevrolet has five wins, followed by Ford and Toyota with four each.
HELPING THE HUNGRY
The Dale Earnhardt Foundation is helping local needy.
The foundation is sponsoring a Feed the Children event that will deliver food and personal items starting at 10 a.m. today at Valley Christian Center, 1310 W. Hadley St., in Phoenix.
- Correspondent Sam Ganczaruk contributed to this report.