Kyle Busch won the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship on Sunday evening on NBC, his second career Cup Series title, as he outdueled fellow Championship Four contenders Martin Truex Jr. (2nd), Kevin Harvick (4th), and Denny Hamlin (10th) at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.
NBC Sports’ Rick Allen called the action alongside Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte. 21-time Cup Series race winner Jeff Burton and racing legend and two-time Daytona 500-winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. provided commentary from a second booth. Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Dave Burns, Parker Kligerman and Rutledge Wood reported from pit road and the grandstands.
NBC Sports’ 90 minutes of pre-race coverage on NBC began at 1:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR America and Countdown to Green, hosted by Krista Voda from NBC Sports’ “Peacock Pit Box” on pit road alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Dale Jarrett.
In addition to race coverage on NBC, NBC Sports presented its NASCAR Hot Pass telecast simultaneously on NBCSN for the fifth consecutive season, as Leigh Diffey and Dale Jarrett had the call for live, hyper-focused coverage of today’s race on each of the Championship Four drivers.
This marked NBC Sports’ 100th NASCAR Cup Series race telecast since the start of the current rights agreement in 2015.
Pre-race coverage on NBC included:
- Interviews by the studio team at the Peacock Pit Box and Dale Earnhardt Jr. atop Victory Lane with each of the Championship Four drivers;
- ‘Behind the Driver’ features on each of the Championship Four drivers;
- Dale Jarrett’s poignant interview with team owner Joe Gibbs, discussing the impact of his son, J.D. Gibbs, who co-owned Joe Gibbs Racing and passed away earlier this year after his battle with a neurological disease;
- A feature narrated by NBC Sports’ Tim Layden on the legacy of Homestead-Miami Speedway, which will now host NASCAR races in March after anchoring the end of the season for more than two decades;
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s interview with Michael Jordan, discussing his friendship with Denny Hamlin and the origins of his NASCAR fandom.
|2||Martin Truex Jr.||19|
The following are highlights from this afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series Championship race coverage on NBC:
Busch to Snider during burnout interview: “There’s always your doubters and there’s always your haters – but this one is for Rowdy Nation because you guys are the best.”
Earnhardt Jr. on Busch: “He’s a guy who feels like he should already have multiple championships. This is something he needed badly. He’s only 34 years old. There’s no reason he can’t go win three, four, or five championships.”
Snider on Busch: “In a playoff season where everyone wondered when Kyle Busch was going to show up, he picked a great day to have a great day.”
Letarte on Busch: “It’s a team championship and we saw that. There were some miscues by the other teams. The No. 18 was smooth.”
Burton on Busch: “A lot of us doubted his ability to come in here and make this happen. He stepped up and made this happen. He’s not a good racecar driver, he’s a great racecar driver.”
Petty on Busch: “Kyle Busch made that look incredibly simple. That’s what great drivers and great teams do.”
Allen on Busch: “What a performance he has put on this evening. 119 laps have been led. He’s the winningest driver of the decade – and now he is joining elite company. Kyle Busch is going to win his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship!”
Burton on Busch: “The only people that can question his championship caliber are the people that don’t want him to do well.”
Burton on team owner Joe Gibbs: “Three Super Bowl wins, in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, 2020 NASCAR Hall of Fame – Joe Gibbs is a winner, quite simply. He knows how to get the right people, he knows how to motivate them, and he’s smart enough to let them do their job.”
Burton on Busch: “There’s been a lot of talk about his frustration this year – how frustrated he has been with this package, and he’s expressed it, he’s shown it at the races. A lot of people questioned if he was focused, could he be focused enough to win this championship?”
Letarte on Hamlin with 46 laps to go: “A huge blow for Denny Hamlin. A miscalculation with the grill tape.”
Letarte on Truex Jr. pitting with 52 laps to go: “I’m not a fan of this. They either need to be on the front side or the back side of this. Martin Truex Jr. seems to be stuck in the middle.”
Burton on split pit strategy in with 55 laps to go: “Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick clearly felt like they couldn’t win this race doing the same thing that Kyle Busch was doing.”
Stavast on Martin Truex Jr.’s pit crew switching left and front tires and being forced to pit: “Cole Pearn said, ‘We have the tires switched.’ They messed it up on pit road…this is a costly mistake. One of the things that Cole Pearn had been so proud of about his pit crew, he said, ‘When they make mistakes, they’re little, they haven’t made any disastrous mistakes.’”
Letarte on Truex Jr.’s pit crew tire switch: “A mental error. Inexcusable. You cannot switch the tires 36 races into the season…these are the mistakes that can cost you a championship.”
Earnhardt Jr. on when he had his left and front tires switched: “I actually tested here at Homestead back in 1999. On the second day, we got the tires mixed up, left and right – we were 1.5 seconds off all day long, and we couldn’t figure it out.”
Michael Jordan to Earnhardt Jr. during pre-race coverage about his NASCAR fandom and supporting Hamlin: “I’m a big racing fan. Started off when I was a kid. Grew up watching your dad, Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough…now I’m good friends with Denny Hamlin. We go way back….so I came out to support him…my interest in the sport has been there for a long period of time. I love watching. I set my clock every Sunday to watch NASCAR.”
NBC Sports PR