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#18: Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's celebrates his race and championship wins with a burnout

Kyle Busch was in a league of his own during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Ford EcoBoost 400. Busch won his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship beating perhaps the most impressive field of championship contenders since the start of the elimination-style playoffs that started in 2014. He beat fellow championship rivals Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., and Kevin Harvick. Hamlin was making his second appearance to the “Championship 4” since 2014 while Harvick and Truex were making return trips for the title.

Truex had a very dominant car at the start of the race. He really dominated the first stage by lapping 27 cars in the first 80 laps and winning it. He continued that same strength at the start of the second stage. Truex lost the lead and when he did, he never got it back. His pit crew put on the front tires on the wrong sides of the car and that ruined Truex’s chances of doing well in the second stage. He noticed the issue right away and had to come straight back down pit road. This put Truex a lap down and took him out of contention in the second stage. He had to unlap himself if he wanted any hope to have a chance to win the title. Truex easily unlapped himself since he already had a very fast car. He just came short of the title and finished second in the race and was 4.5 seconds behind Kyle Busch.

Harvick faded from Bush’s rearview mirror throughout the third stage. Harvick and his team waited as long as possible to pit, but things didn’t go his way. With high tire wear at Homestead, that decision cost Harvick time on track. Harvick and his team were hoping for a caution, but it never happened. The final stage of the race was caution-free. Harvick ended the day finishing in fourth behind Erik Jones. Harvick had a fast car all day, but he never was really up front to contend for the win of the race.

Hamlin had a very great car going into Homestead, but badly applied tape to the grill ruined his chances of winning his first title. Hamlin brought his car down pit road in the final stage when his car’s engine started to overheat and spew water. His team applied tape to the grille to make a huge adjustment to the handling to try and help him. The tape was too much and overheated the engine. Hamlin’s engine would fail if he continued the way he did on track. He pitted with 40 laps to go so his team can remove the tape. That pit stop put Hamlin a lap down, but he was fast enough to get his lap back. Hamlin came back to be the last car on the lead lap finishing in 10th.

Kyle Busch won the race and his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship after all of the drama with the rest of the Championship 4. After winning four races in the first 14 races, Busch didn’t win at all in the second-half of the season. He was in a slump and was very determined to win the race and the title. He broke a 21-winless streak with his win last Sunday. 

Busch is now only the 16th driver to win multiple NASCAR Cup Series titles. Busch is also only the second driver to win multiple Cup Series titles in this decade with Jimmie Johnson previously winning three in the decade. Johnson is a seven-time Cup Series champion and won three in this decade; which were in 2010, 2013, and 2016. With winning the 2015 and 2019 Cup Series championship, Kyle Busch proved he is one of the best drivers of this era of NASCAR by surpassing 200 wins in all three of NASCAR’s National Series. He is one of the best NASCAR drivers of this era. The next race for the NASCAR Cup Series is the Daytona 500 on February 16, 2020 at 2:30 P.M. EST. on Fox.

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