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Wimmer Wins Arizona Busch Race; Biffle Claims Championship

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AVONDALE, ARIZ. — Scott Wimmer won the Basha's Supermarket200 under a yellow flag, but this was Greg Biffle's day.

Biffle clinched the NASCAR Busch Series championship onSaturday, leading all but the last 16 laps of the 200-lap race atPhoenix International Speedway. He wound up third, just ahead ofseries runner-up Jason Keller.

Biffle is the only driver to have won titles in both the Buschand Craftsman Truck Series (2000). He has given team owner JackRoush his only NASCAR championships.

Wimmer, one of the hottest drivers in the circuit in the lasthalf of the season and a distant third in the standings, won forthe third time in the last seven races.

Stacy Compton, who passed Biffle for second on lap 195, appearedto be closing in on the leader when Jeff Green slammed into thewall on the 196th lap, bringing out the eighth caution flag of therace.

Though Green was not injured, NASCAR chose to let the race go to thefinish behind the pace car, rather than red flag it in hopes offinishing under green.

"I always like to race to the green, and I wish they'd put in arule that we'd have to race five laps under green at the end,"Wimmer said. "But it was a pretty big mess down there in Turn 1, and I guess it would have taken quite a while to clean it up."

Biffle entered the race with an almost insurmountable 212-pointlead on Keller. Still, he battled the second-place driver as if itwere a lot closer.

The championship contenders ran 1-2 most of the race. Biffle,the defending champ at this event, said trying to keep Kellerbehind him probably cost him the victory.

"I've got to blame Jason Keller for that," Biffle said,grinning. "He ran me hard. I didn't want him to lead a lap, and hemade me run my tires too hard."

Keller, wearing a "Go Daddy" T-shirt his children gave him,said: "When we came in, we knew this was going to be a real longshot for us winning the championship.

"Greg did what he needed to doand ran up front all day long."

Wimmer didn't get past Biffle's Ford easily, either. Afterpulling alongside the leader on the 184th lap, Wimmer needed twomore laps of side-by-side racing on the one-mile oval before he wasable to drive his Bill Davis Racing Pontiac into the lead.

"I've never had somebody put so much pressure on me as Wimmerand not bump into me," Biffle said. "I was just trying my best tostay in front of him and I finally realized I just didn't have therace car."

The winner averaged 96.709 mph in the race slowed by 40 laps ofcaution.

Biffle, who leads Keller by 227 points, wrapped up the titlewith one race remaining. He will move up to Winston Cup in 2003,driving a fifth Roush Racing entry in NASCAR's top stock-carseries.

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