He may not be a fan of the aerodynamic package that NASCAR used during the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, but Kyle Busch came alive when it mattered most as he led 120 laps en route to a race win in Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Busch held off Martin Truex Jr. by 4.5 seconds to secure his 56th-career victory and second-career Cup Series championship.
According to the Las Vegas native, this championship is a testament to the incredible team and people around him.
“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.”
Busch, who won the title in 2015 despite missing 11 races with a broken leg and broken ankle, was happy that this championship will silence those who say he can’t win a title while running the full season.
“There’s always your doubters,” Busch stated. “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.“
Truex had the race well in hand early as he dominated Stage 1 and led 98 laps before needing an unscheduled pit stop as his pit crew put tires on the wrong side of the car.
Truex would lose a lap in Stage 2, but would nearly rebound to win the title.
“When things like that happen all you can do is do your best,” Truex explained. “Just try to forget about it and make it up. We got most of the way back there, just not quite all of the way. It’s unfortunate.”
Kevin Harvick finished third in the title race, as he came home fourth in the race. Harvick’s No. 4 car was setup for the short run, but he never got a late-Race caution time give him a shot at the win.
“On the restarts I could do what I wanted to do and hold them off for 15 or 20 laps,” Harvick said. “This race has come down to that every year. You kind of play toward that and they were quite a bit better than us on the long run. We had a really good car for those first 15-20 laps on the restarts and had a lot of speed, we just never got to try to race for it there with the caution.”
Denny Hamlin, finished fourth in the championship hunt as he ended up 10th after an errant piece of tape was slapped on his car late in the race, which led to an unscheduled pit stop to remove it.
“We put too much tape on,” Hamlin said. “Chris (Gabehart, crew chief) is really aggressive with his calls and he tried to add some tape there and it just overheated. All of my gauges were pegged and they peg it up a really high number so we weren’t going to make it. But, I’ve got to say thank you to TRD for that thing staying together. That is unbelievable. A hell of a season by our guys. We gave ourselves a shot.”
Erik Jones finished the race in third, and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five finishers.
Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon and Alex Bowman also scored top-10 finishes in the race.
Daniel Hemric secured the 2019 Rookie of the Year award with a 12th-place finish.
Post-Race Stat Pack:
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.