For the second time in his NASCAR career, on Sunday night, Kyle Busch crossed the start/finish line at Homestead-Miami Speedway in first to clinch a Cup series championship.
Busch, who is now in sole possession of ninth place on NASCAR’s All-Time wins list, wanted to gain some validity with his second championship.
He won his first title after coming back from an injury, drawing some criticism from fans that were not happy he was allowed to “bypass” the first half of the regular season.
Basically, critics would say that it didn’t count, and Busch silenced them on Sunday.
Kyle Busch wins his second Championship at Homestead
We knew it would come after an entertaining, roller-coaster-type of race, but Busch was able to navigate it with ease, staying out of trouble and running a mistake-free event.
His competitors, on the other hand, weren’t as lucky.
Martin Truex Jr. was running the fastest laps on the track in Stage 1, pacing the field and ending the first segment of the race by having all but 13 cars lapped and off of the lead lap.
It would help give him a cushion in case of a mistake in Stage 2, and he would need that more than ever.
The No. 19 crew switched the front left and front right tires on the car during a pit stop and had to bring it down for a second time.
Thanks to the cushion, Truex Jr. was able to get back on the lead lap at the end of Stage 2, but his car would slow down as the night sky took over.
Denny Hamlin was on a mission with his car though. The No. 11 team had kept adding tape to the grill in order to add more grip to the car as the night went on.
Hamlin’s car had continued to get better, but started to overheat after they added too much tape to the grill.
He was a lap down from then on.
Kevin Harvick kept his race relatively clean, but never had that big, signature run of momentum to catch up and compete with Busch.
He and his team were hoping for a late caution after long pitting throughout the race, but it never came.
Busch becomes the 16th driver in NASCAR history to win multiple cup series championships as well as the first Joe Gibbs Racing driver to win a title since he did in 2015.
He didn’t have the most dominant season in his career, but nonetheless, was in the Championship 4 for the fifth straight season.
He’ll go into 2020 as one of the favorites to take home the big trophy again. For now, Busch and his team will celebrate.