Homestead NASCAR: Kyle Busch clinches 2019 Cup championship

NASCAR

Kyle Busch claimed his second NASCAR Cup Series title by winning the 2019 season finale at Homestead, ending a 21-race winless streak in the process.

The Toyota driver was one of three Joe Gibbs Racing entrants competing for the championship alongside Martin Truex Jr and Denny Hamlin, as well as Stewart-Haas’ Kevin Harvick.

He held off a charging Truex, who dominated the early part of the race – winning the first stage and leading a total of 103 of the 267 laps, but who ultimately had to settle for second place in both the race and the championship for the second-straight year.

Truex’s hopes of a second title in three years were blighted on lap 121 when, following a green flag pitstop, he was called back to the pits because his front tyres were put on the wrong sides of the car.

After dropping a lap down, a caution for a spinning John Hunter Nemecheck on lap 136 allowed Truex to get back on the lead lap.

He returned to the top five before the end of the second stage and remained firmly in the top-three for the final part of the race.

Finishing third in the race behind Busch and Truex was Erik Jones, the only Joe Gibbs Racing driver not in title contention. He beat Harvick who, despite leading 41 laps, dropped out of contention when he made his final green flag pit stop much later than his rivals in the hope of capitalising on a caution that never came.

Outgoing champion Joey Logano rounded out the top five, ahead of Clint Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, and Alex Bowman, while Hamlin missed out on a maiden championship by finishing 10th.

As the sunset in Miami Hamlin came to the fore, Hamlin was challenging Busch up front but a mishap during his final pitstop, where too much tape was put on his car’s grille, caused overheating issues.

Following a pitstop to rectify the problem, Hamlin dropped off the lead lap but was able to rally back – passing nine cars in the closing stages of the race.

Kyle Larson was the only non-championship four driver to contend for the win, but engine issues brought an early end to his day on lap 208. The similarly-powered Chevrolet of William Byron also retired on lap 218 after losing oil pressure.

Busch’s win for Toyota means that NASCAR’s three national touring titles this year have been won by each of the category’s three manufacturers for the second straight year, with a winless Matt Crafton claiming his third Truck series title for Ford on Friday, and Tyler Reddick clinching his second-straight Xfinity crown for Chevrolet on Saturday.

Busch’s triumph is also the first time since Truex’s 2017 title that the regular season champion has gone on to clinch full season honours.

Race result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps
1 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 267
2 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 267
3 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 267
4 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 267
5 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford 267
6 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 267
7 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford 267
8 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 267
9 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 267
10 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota 267
11 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford 266
12 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet 266
13 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 266
14 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 266
15 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 266
16 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 266
17 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford 266
18 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford 265
19 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford 265
20 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota 265
21 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 265
22 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford 264
23 John Hunter Nemechek Front Row Motorsports Ford 264
24 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet 263
25 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet 263
26 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford 263
27 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford 263
28 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet 262
29 Drew Herring Gaunt Brothers Racing Toyota 262
30 J.J. Yeley Petty Ware Racing Ford 262
31 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford 261
32 B.J. McLeod Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet 256
33 Timmy Hill MBM Motorsports Toyota 248
34 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet 243
35 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 242
36 Josh Bilicki Rick Ware Racing Ford 240
37 Reed Sorenson Spire Motorsports Chevrolet 236
38 Joe Nemechek Premium Motorsports Chevrolet 227
39 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet 215
40 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 209

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