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NASCAR Cup: Kyle Busch takes title with Homestead win

HOMESTEAD, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 17: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead Speedway on November 17, 2019 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Kyle Busch claimed his fifth win of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, his first since Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., in early June, on Sunday in Ford EcoBoost 400 season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. With the win, he claimed his second Cup Series championship, making him the only active driver other than Jimmie Johnson to have multiple championships.

“We have a great race team, a great owner and the best sponsors in sports,” Busch said. “I just can’t say enough and thank everyone enough for this opportunity. I may be the one that’s able to hoist the trophy, or to have a championship, but it wouldn’t be possible without Adam Stevens (crew chief) and Joe Gibbs, J.D. Gibbs, Coy Gibbs and the whole family. M&M’s, of course, and Interstate Batteries and Norm Miller. And Toyota – this TRD engine was awesome tonight. It’s been awesome all year. We had one issue, but man it’s so much fun to work with these guys and this group. Everybody that puts it all together for me. There’s always your doubters. There’s always your haters, but you know what? This one is for Rowdy Nation, because you guys are the best. Thank you so much.“

Joe Gibbs Racing drivers finished one-two-three on Sunday, but the top-three didn’t exactly mirror the championship four, which also featured three JGR drivers. Busch’s teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Erik Jones finished second and third. Denny Hamlin, the JGR driver who joined teammates Busch and Truex in the championship battle in Sunday’s race, finished 10th.

The fourth championship candidate on Sunday, Kevin Harvick, finished fourth, and Joey Logano, the 2018 series champion who was eliminated from the playoffs last weekend at ISM (formerly Phoenix International) Raceway, rounded out the top-five.

Busch and Truex combined to lead most of the 267-lap race, with Busch leading 120 laps and Truex 103. Truex dominated the first half of the race, including running up front when the first stage ended at lap 80. But after his pit crew got the left-front and right-front tires mixed up during a green-flag pit stop around lap 120, necessitating an extra pit stop to correct the snafu, Busch took over and led most of the remainder of the race.

Truex got back on the lead lap during a caution for a John Hunter Nemechek spin a few laps later, and by the end of the second stage at lap 160, he was back up to fourth in the running order.

Harvick was the only other driver to lead more than two laps in the race, running up front for 41 laps, including the first 20 laps after taking the lead from pole sitter Hamlin at the start of the race.

The four championship contenders and Kyle Larson made up the top-five of the running order for much of the race until a final cycle of green-flag pit stops just past lap 200. Harvick and Truex stayed out longer, and as a result, were at a significant deficit after finally making their stops, Busch having gained ground by getting new tires earlier.

“Yeah, we just needed to do something different,” Harvick said. “They were so much better than us on the long run. That was our best chance, to have a caution, there, at the end, and we never got one. We did something different, hoping for a caution. We had to do the opposite, and it just didn’t work out.”

Larson and Hamlin made extra stops during the final cycle of stops, Larson, ultimately, with a blown engine, and Hamlin as his car overheated because of too much tape on the grille.

Clint Bowyer finished sixth, Ryan Newman seventh, Austin Dillon eighth, and Alex Bowman was ninth.

The caution for Nemechek’s spin on lap 137 was the only caution for an on-track incident.

Below, is the complete finishing order of the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway:

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Posted by on November 18, 2019. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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