NASCAR’s Cup Series finale sells out for 6th straight year

Ross Houston
November 18, 2019

He didn't do his customary bow to the crowd, asked NASCAR for permission to take his 4-year-old son along for the ride to victory lane, and when the duo finally got there it was then that Busch remembered he'd just won both Sunday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and his second NASCAR title. Joe Gibbs Racing responded with 19 victories in 36 races - a record for NASCAR's modern era - and another title for the three-time Super Bowl-winning champion who still goes by Coach. Harvick finished fourth in the race and third in the championship behind Busch and Martin Truex Jr. It helps explain why this final foursome is so relaxed, Gibbs' trio of Toyota drivers Busch, Hamlin and Truex as well as Harvick in a Ford from Stewart-Haas Racing.

Hamlin's air of confidence came across the team radio when he boasted the race "ain't (bleepin') over" as he made a late push to the lead.

"It doesn't drive good with the left ones on the right, I can tell you that", Truex said.

"I felt like we did that tonight, racing all three of those guys", Busch noted.

Truex already had lost his track position during a green-flag stop on Lap 120, when his crew bolted right-side tires to the left side of the vehicle and vice versa. I felt like if I was out front and could have been out front and controlled the race, I could have drove away from them.

Harvick, the only Ford driver in the championship field, never had anything on long runs for the Gibbs cars and finished fourth. "This race has come down to that every year, so you kind of play towards that". Hamlin tends to use the two-race stretch of Phoenix and Miami to unwind; last week, despite facing elimination, he rented a house with a pool and tennis court and had a "boy's weekend" with fellow title challenger Kyle Larson and others that included a Post Malone concert. Everything we do is to make that happen, right?

However he was flawless Sunday night time and gave Gibbs his fifth Cup title and bookended a 12 months wherein the Gibbs autos opened the 12 months 1-2-Three on the Daytona 500.

This championship subject is virtually similar to very last calendar year, with Busch, Harvick and Truex returning to the finale all over again.

"To get here is so hard, " Truex said.

Rodney Childers knew he needed to do something different to give Kevin Harvick a shot at the championship. "Sometimes we may not be the best, sometimes we may not have the right track position".

Busch acknowledged after the race Sunday night that he was thinking of J.D. and cognizant of the totality of J.D.'s impact on the organization. "And it kind of continued the entire year for me".

Harvick won the 2014 championship while Truex won the 2017 championship. Gibbs this entire year has been mourning the death of his son, JGR co-chairman J.D. Gibbs, and the organization promoted a "Do it for J.D." theme the entire weekend.

After a playoff run where Busch had not won during the first nine races of the postseason, he showed his best cards when they mattered most, leading five times for a race-high 120 laps en route to the win.

"I know J.D. was looking down on us all year long".

"I mean damn, what a season Joe Gibbs Racing put together and for as awesome as our group is and everybody back in the shop and how awesome they are at building some really, really special race cars, we put it on them this time".

Busch gave Toyota its third drivers' championship in five seasons.

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