NASCAR Cup Series News

NASCAR Cup Series News (17900)

Race Winner:      Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner:  Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner:  Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

● Daniel Suárez started 17th and finished 15th.

● The Ford driver made his first scheduled green-flag pit stop from 20th on lap 36 for fuel, four tires and fuel.

● He ended the stage in 15th and pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with a loose condition during the Stage 1 break.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

● Suárez started 22nd and ended up 16th.

● The 27-year-old worked his way forward and was up to the 14th position when he pitted for fuel and four tires on lap 118.

● On lap 136, the caution was displayed while Suárez remained in the 14th spot.

● He did not pit and took the wave-around to get back on the lead lap when the race went back to green on lap 141.

● The Ford driver completed the second stage 16th and pitted during the break for fuel, four tires and adjustments.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

● Suárez started 14th and finished 14th.

● After going three-wide just after the restart, Suárez was shuffled back to the 17th spot.

● He remained in the top-20 and pitted from 16th on lap 215 for fuel, four tires and adjustments.

● The Haas Automation driver was 14th on lap 235.

● The remainder of the stage ran under green, and Suárez ultimately finished 14th.

 

Notes:

● This is Suárez’s third straight top-15. He finished 15th in the series’ last race at ISM Raceway near Phoenix and third three weeks ago at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

● Kyle Busch won the Ford EcoBoost 400 to clinch his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, the 56th race win of his career, his fifth of the season and his second at Homestead. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was 4.578 seconds.

● There were three caution periods for a total of 15 laps.

● Only 10 of the 40 drivers in the Ford EcoBoost 400 finished on the lead lap.

 

Daniel Suárez, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“The Haas Automation guys worked really hard today. The track conditions change so much from the day to the night, and making adjustments to keep up with the track was key. I was hoping we could get a few more positions there at the end, but my car just wasn’t handling well in the last 15 laps or so. Overall, we had a good season and I really enjoyed working with the crew guys and everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing.”

 

Next Up:

The 2020 season kicks off with the traditional Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 62nd Daytona 500, the first points-paying race of the year, will go green on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020 with live coverage from FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

TSC PR

Paul Menard closed out his full-time Cup career, and a two-year stint in the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang, with a 17th-place finish in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Menard started 19th after qualifying was cancelled because of rain and the starting line-up set by car owner points. He spent the early portions of the race running around the top 20 and fell a lap down midway through the second stage as the race leaders set a torrid pace in a relatively caution-free race.

When a caution flag did fly with just over 20 laps left to run in Stage Two, crew chief Greg Erwin elected to take the wave-around even though Menard faced an uphill battle to remain on the lead lap while riding on worn tires.

 But the veteran driver came through and finished Stage Two in 19th place and still on the lead lap.
 
He began to move forward in the third and final stage, driving up to 13th at one point before finishing 17th as the entire third segment of the race ran without a caution flag.

Eddie Wood said Menard turned in a solid performance in his final Cup start.

“It was a hard race for everybody,” Wood said. “There weren’t many caution flags so you really didn’t have opportunities to work on the car.
 
“Our race was pretty uneventful, no mistakes, and we were glad that Paul was able to be still running good at the end of his last race.” 
 
Menard’s finish secured the 19th place in the final points standings for him and his Wood Brothers team, which means the No. 21 team will be eligible to participate in the rotation of future Goodyear tire tests. Those tests allow teams and drivers a rare opportunity to get experience on the various race tracks, which are off limits for testing according to NASCAR rules.
 
Wood also said that among the bittersweet moments of the weekend was that it was the final installment of Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Next year, the final races move to ISM Raceway near Phoenix and Homestead will host a race in March.
 
Since 2002, Ford Motor Company has been the title sponsor of the entire weekend, including the season-ending races for all three of the top NASCAR series – Cup, Xfinity and the Gander Outdoors Truck series.
 
“It’s been a good run for us and for everybody in NASCAR,” Wood said. “It’s the same with our family and the Menards.

WBR PR

Michael McDowell
No. 34 Love's Travel Stops/Luber Finer Ford Mustang
Started: 28 | Finished: 26
"Well, that’s a wrap on the 2019 season. I would like to thank all of our partners, including Love’s Travel Stops for their support this year. The No. 34 Ford Mustang was a blast to drive. We had some good runs, some highs, some lows, top 5’s and top 10’s. You’re always learning and you’re always growing. Lastly, I want to thank all of my guys at Front Row Motorsports for their hard work and dedication to our program this year. Tonight didn’t go the way that we had hoped, but you’ll have races like that. I’m already looking forward to Daytona."
John Hunter Nemechek
No. 36 Speedy Cash Ford Mustang
Started: 30 | Finished: 23
"It was definitely a learning experience for us tonight. We struggled to find balance and overall grip throughout the race, but I’m proud of our No. 36 team for never giving up. We managed to get some good notes for the next time we come back, and that’s a positive. It was cool to see the folks at Speedy Cash back for the second time, and hopefully they’ll continue that relationship with the team into next year. I’m thankful for this opportunity to make my first starts in a Cup car, and continue to wish Matt Tifft a speedy recovery."
David Ragan
No. 38 "Thank You David" Ford Mustang
Started: 31 | Finished: 27
"Our last race was really uneventful. We tried some strategy a few times and it kind of bit us. We probably lost a lap or two that we shouldn’t have, but we were being aggressive because we didn’t really have anything to lose. I can’t say enough about everybody at Front Row Motorsports and the NASCAR industry for making this last weekend special. It was a tough season. I wish we had some better results to show for it, but the last season won’t dictate my 13-year career. We’ve had a lot of fun, a lot of good memories and don’t regret anything that we’ve done. I’ll sleep good tonight and think a little bit over the offseason on what I want to do next year and I’m sure I’ll be around."

FRM PR

In his final time driving the No. 17 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his Fastenal Ford to a 19th-place finish at the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“I was really hoping to have a better finish today to finish out my time with Roush Fenway Racing,” Stenhouse said. “We just couldn’t get the handling where we needed it. I want to thank everyone at Roush Fenway for the past 12 years.”

After rain cancelled both practice sessions on Friday, NASCAR decided to cancel qualifying and set the lineup by owner’s points. The two-time Xfinity champion lined up in the 23rd position but lost a few positions on the start. After the field settled out, Stenhouse marched his way back forward. With the first stage going caution free, Stenhouse took the first green checkered in the 20th position.

After a chassis adjustment during the stage break, the Fastenal Ford fired off decent but as the run progressed Stenhouse radioed that he was too tight. When the caution flag waved on lap 136, crew chief Brian Pattie chose to take the wave around to get back to one lap down to the leaders. When the second green checkered was displayed, Stenhouse was scored in the 24th position.

With the final stage going caution free, Stenhouse patiently worked his way forward picking up five positions to take the checkered flag in the 19th position.

RFR PR

Ryan Newman and the No. 6 team ended the 2019 season with a solid seventh-place finish in the Wyndham Rewards Ford Sunday afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the team’s 14th top-10 of the year.

“I didn’t really realize we were seventh, but I’m proud of the guys with the Wyndham Rewards Ford,” Newman said following the race. “We had a loose wheel that put us back, but we had a really good car. We had one run there at the start of the third stage that just wasn’t quite as good as we needed to be, but I felt like our last run was pretty good.

“I’m proud of the guys. We made a lot of progress this year. It is a good way to end the season and prove that we were a top-10 car there at the end. We didn’t end up there in points, but just proud of the overall team effort for sure.”

After rain washed out all of Friday’s on-track activity, Saturday’s qualifying session was replaced with one 50-minute practice, which put Newman 15th on the grid after lining up by points. With the two opening stages running 80 laps each, the South Bend, Indiana, native finished up stage one in 12th, reporting he was too tight.

Following service under the stage break, Newman lined up 11th but was forced to immediately pit again after he reported a loose wheel. After the stop, Newman ran 19th, one lap down, before pitting again at lap 115 for more adjustments. The only non-stage yellow of the race was displayed at lap 136, when crew chief Scott Graves kept Newman on track to earn the wave around.

The 2003 Driver of the Year would line up 15th for an 18-lap shootout to the stage end, and ended the segment 14th. He began the third and final stage in 13th, and from there continued his upward climb. The final stop of the day came at lap 210 when Newman pitted from the ninth spot, before picking off a few more spots until the checkered flag to cross the line seventh.

RFR PR

It was Kyle Busch’s championship evening at Homestead-Miami Speedway Sunday, but it also had a distinctive feel of being a J.D. Gibbs’ kind of achievement.

 

Team owner Joe Gibbs’ oldest son J.D. was president of the Joe Gibbs Racing team and an omnipresent positive vibe in the NASCAR garage for more than a decade. Typically smiling and joking, but also ultra-competitive, the team won four previous Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships under his leadership and won hearts because of his enduring positive spirit.

 

J.D. Gibbs passed away on January 11 at the age of 49 after a valiant and lengthy fight against a degenerative neurological disease. His passing and its effect on the 2019 season has been simultaneously heart-breaking and heart-strengthening.

 

The last race J.D. attended was the 2015 Homestead season finale, which was coincidentally - or not, depending how you chose to believe - the last time Kyle Busch won at Homestead and when he captured his first season championship.

 

Joe Gibbs was smiling widely in the celebration Sunday night following Busch’s championship victory. But there was also an unmistakable special gleam in his eye. This one was for J.D.

 

“This has been an emotional year for us and for me, starting with the Daytona 500,’’ Gibbs said of his driver Denny Hamlin’s season-opening Daytona victory only a few weeks after J.D.’s passing.

 

“And I think anyone that saw that would say there’s no way that could happen by accident. I feel like God was kind of overseeing that and I think J.D. was there. And it kind of continued the entire year for me.’’

 

Hamlin’s emotional win at Daytona in the weeks following J.D. Gibbs’ passing was memorable and, Joe Gibbs believes, highly motivational to the entire team. Counting Busch’s win at Homestead, the four-car JGR organization set a NASCAR modern era (since 1972) record with 19 wins. All four of his drivers – Busch, Hamlin, Sunday’s championship runner-up Martin Truex Jr. and young driver Erik Jones – won races this season and qualified for the Playoffs.

 

“It’s been emotional to win the number of races we’ve won,’’ Gibbs said. “It’s just something that doesn’t normally happen. I think he has been a part of it and everyone that worked at Joe Gibbs racing when J.D. left us, each and everyone of them felt that. 

 

“I think they have devoted this year to him and I know all of us did family-wise.’’

 

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. Busch said he couldn’t remember exactly if it was J.D. or Coach Gibbs that initially reached out about bringing him onto the team. But he spoke fondly about what J.D. has meant to him and his career. And it has been

 

“I know it’s been a difficult time on [J.D.’s wife] Melissa and Joe [Gibbs],’’ Busch said in Victory Lane. “To be able to reward them with a championship, I know how much it means to them, but it’s the best I can do.’’

 

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

 

Busch added, “He’s an honorable man and honorable father and one that reflects the Lord and lived that way and showed people how to do that.

 

“A lot could be learned from those type of individuals.’’

 

That was evident this week in JGR’s precedent-setting three entries in the championship race.  It’s the kind of lofty ambition J.D. would have absolutely appreciated - and been so very proud.

 

Busch’s teammate Hamlin carried a special message on the back of his Toyota this weekend and a memorial to his friend all season long. J.D. had been No. 11 when he played high school football and Hamlin’s Toyota is No. 11. It was J.D. that hired a young Hamlin and gave him his first opportunity in NASCAR’s big leagues.

 

Although Hamlin missed out on winning his first championship this weekend, he remained positive about the opportunity he had and absolutely motivated to do even better next year.

 

He was smiling and positive even as he discussed his championship near-miss.

 

Listening to Hamlin speak, seeing his attitude all week there was an unmistakable J.D.  influence there. From Busch’s win to Hamlin’s good try – from Truex’s runner-up run to the team’s 23-year old Jones career best third place finish on Sunday; there was effort, results and positive momentum.

 

And J.D. would have been so proud.

 

“I just want to say thanks to everyone,’’ Gibbs said. “People asked me if it was emotional all year, I felt like I could feel J.D. all year and it’s kind of hard to put into words.

 

“But it’s been special and different and was great to finish it up the way we did tonight.’

It was a case of winner take-all throughout NASCAR’s Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Sunday night it was Kyle Busch who claimed both the race trophy and his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season championship.

His commanding 4.578-second victory over Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Erik Jones makes Busch only the second multi-time Cup champion currently in the sport. Jimmie Johnson, who did not qualify for this year’s Playoffs, has won seven Cup titles matching the all-time series championship record held by NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and the late Dale Earnhardt.

And while Busch’s Margin of Victory would indicate a seemingly dominant day, the truth is the four title contenders – Busch, Truex, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick, who finished fourth and the third JGR driver, Denny Hamlin, who finished 10th – all kept Sunday’s contest honest. Although each of the four led multiple laps, in the end it was a competition between the JGR teammates Busch and Truex for the big trophy.

Busch led the race five times for 120 laps and Truex held point four times for 103 laps. Truex won Stage 1 and Busch won Stage 2. Busch took the lead for good with 44 laps remaining and his win earned the Gibbs’ team its 19th overall victory, it’s best single season output.

For Busch, who won the regular season championship with four wins but hadn’t hoisted a trophy since early June, this was a huge affirmation of drive and talent.

“Everybody always says you never give up and we’re no different," Busch said. “Sometimes we may not be the best, sometimes we may not have the right track position. Today we had a really good car and I could race around and move around. That’s what’s so special about Homestead-Miami Speedway, is the ability to put on a show.

“There’s always your doubters, there’s always your haters," Busch said smiling. “You know what, this one’s for the Rowdy Nation because you guys are the best. Thank you so much.

It was an action-packed afternoon for the championship foursome – on track and in the pits. And the pit action arguably was as decisive as the work on track.

Truex had to recover from a rare but major pit road miscue. While pitting on Lap 121, the normally Straight-A No. 19 pit crew mistakenly put the right side front tire on the left side of Truex’s Toyota and the left side tire on the right side. He had to come back in and get that corrected, ultimately going down a lap. But he was the “lucky dog” – first car a lap down - on a caution flag 17 laps later. That put him back on the lead lap and he worked his way forward from there coming up just short – the championship runner-up for the second straight season.

After climbing out of car on pit road after the race, Truex leaned back against the driver’s side window before taking questions from reporters – the frustration and disappointment obvious.

“These things don’t come around every day," the 2017 champion said. “Second two years in a row definitely stings a little, but the fact that we have one is still really a big deal. It’s hard to win these things.

“Congrats to Kyle and the 18 guys. It’s a huge accomplishment just to get here I feel like. Yes, sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t. It just wasn’t our day."

Pearn was equally unhappy and said he can only remember that kind of random mistake happening once before – years ago at Pocono, Pa.

“Tough to swallow," Pearn said. “I felt like everyone did a great job and executed set-up wise and car-wise. Credit to the 18 team [Busch] they did a great job and you can’t take away anything from what they did."

Hamlin, who started from pole position, also had a pit issue when his team decided to gamble with a large piece of tape on the front grill that instead of helping, ended up causing the car to overheat and smoke. He had to pit briefly in the waning laps to get that off. He went back on track in 19th position with 46 laps remaining and still rallied to a 10th-place finish.

NBA legend and Hamlin’s close friend Michael Jordan was on hand at Homestead to help Hamlin celebrate should he earn his first series title.

The only member of the Championship 4 without a series championship yet, Hamlin was understandably disappointed with the outcome – but he was also notably positive after the race, choosing to focus on the success this year, heartened by how close he came to the big trophy.

He won six races, including his second Daytona 500, led the championship standings at one point during the Playoffs and earned his Homestead shot with a fantastic must-win clutch victory at Phoenix a week ago.

“I told you at the beginning of the week, we’re going to celebrate our year," Hamlin said. “Our year was fantastic in every way you can think of, and it just didn’t pan out in one race in our favor.

And, he added, “I’m excited about next year, I really am. It’s not like I’m going to go through the offseason upset or sad. I’m looking forward to having the momentum that we took through this year with a first-year crew chief and we’re going to win a lot, like a lot, next year.

“I just think that we’ll have another opportunity. There’s no question."

Austin Dillon and Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 Symbicort Chevrolet Team Cap Off 2019 Season with Strong Run at Homestead-Miami Speedway
 

 8th
 
 
 22nd 
 
21st 
"It feels good to cap off the 2019 season with a solid run for everyone at RCR, ECR and our partners and fans. The Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol fumarate dihydrate) Chevrolet was really solid from the start of the race, and it didn't take long for us to make our way into the top 10. We just got a little too tight at the end of the race to make a run for the top-five. We've changed our bodies and everything, just trying to get closer to the competition. We've been working really hard and this gives us some good momentum going into 2020. This is the first car we've had all year that's been really competitive at these 1.5-mile tracks. We've had some good qualifying efforts, but we were racy tonight and that was good to see. We can build on stuff like this for next year."
-Austin Dillon
Daniel Hemric Earns 2019 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year Title with 12th-Place at Homestead-Miami Speedway
 

12th  
 
 
 
 25th  
 
 25th 
  "It's been a bittersweet weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with this being my last race with Richard Childress Racing. We battled all year but didn't always get the finishes we hoped for or deserved, yet my team never laid down or gave up. You want to go out on a high note, and that's definitely what we did tonight by ending the season with a strong run in the No. 8 myblu Chevrolet. It's the little things when you have a season like we've had that get you over that emotional hump. I passed a seven-time champion on the last lap of a 60-lap run tonight. Those are little victories you find that show there is light at the end of the tunnel in years like this. I'm so proud of my team and the heart they continue to fight with. We also won Rookie of The Year Honors after a really tough battle all year long with Ryan Preece. A lot of really important people in our sport have been able to take these honors home, so I'm going to take pride in the Rookie of the Year title and look forward to the next chapter. I'm very thankful for the opportunity from Richard and Judy Childress, ECR and all the folks back in Welcome, North Carolina, for the last three years. My goal is to get back into the Cup Series full time and I believe I can do that."
 
-Daniel Hemric

RCR PR

Champion:  Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Race Winner:  Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner:  Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner:  Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Kyle Busch started fourth, finished third.

● Busch started fourth and settled into the third position early in the race.

● The M&M’S driver came to pit road on lap 35 and cycled out into third place after green flag pit stops were completed.

● Busch held steady in third behind stage winner Martin Truex Jr., and second-place Kyle Larson to finish the stage.

● Pitted for four tires and an air pressure adjustment at the conclusion of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Busch started third, finished first.

Busch restarted third and held the spot for several laps, telling crew chief Adam Stevens that his car had a much better balance.

The Las Vegas native moved up through the field, taking the lead on lap 121 following a lap-119 pit stop.

Following a caution on lap 138, Busch led the lap-142 restart, but fellow Championship 4 contender Kevin Harvick scooted by Busch on the restart and led the next 13 laps.

However, Busch fought back and re-took lead on lap 157 and held the top spot for the remainder of the stage.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

Busch started first, finished first.

Busch restarted the final stage in the lead, and while he did battle fellow JGR driver and Championship 4 contender Denny Hamlin for the lead, Busch was able to hold serve and lead 40 laps before making a scheduled pit stop on lap 210.

After pitting for four tires and fuel, Busch cycled back into the lead on lap 223 after the leaders completed their final pit stops.

Busch exerted a comfortable lead over Truex during the final 45 laps and crossed the finish line 4.578 seconds ahead of him.

 

Championship Notes:

● Today’s victory secured Busch’s second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, with his first coming in 2015.

● It was Busch’s 56th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fifth of the season and his second at Homestead.

● Busch became just the 16th driver to win multiple NASCAR Cup Series championships and the first to win multiple titles in the current elimination-style playoff format.

● He is one of five drivers to win both a NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series title. Truex, Harvick, Bobby Labonte and Brad Keselowski are the others.

● In 2019, Busch posted a total of 17 top-fives, 27 top-10s and one pole to go with his five wins.

● This is Joe Gibbs Racing’s fifth NASCAR Cup Series championship. Prior to Busch’s 2015 and 2019 titles, the organization scored championships with Labonte in 2000 and Tony Stewart in 2002 and 2005.

● Busch led five times for a race-high 120 laps to bring his career laps-led total at Homestead to 463, the most among active NASCAR Cup Series drivers.

● There were three caution periods for a total of 15 laps.

● Only 10 of the 40 drivers in the Ford EcoBoost 400 finished on the lead lap.

 

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

“We have a great race team, a great owner and the best sponsors in sports. I just can’t say enough and thank everyone enough for this opportunity. I may be the one that’s able to hoist the trophy, or to have a championship, but it wouldn’t be possible without Adam Stevens (crew chief) and Joe Gibbs, J.D. Gibbs, Coy Gibbs and the whole family. M&M’s, of course, and Interstate Batteries and Norm Miller. And, Toyota – this TRD engine was awesome tonight. It’s been awesome all year. It’s so much fun to work with these guys and this group – everybody who puts it all together for me. There’s always your doubters. There’s always your haters. But, you know what? This one is for Rowdy Nation because you guys are the best. Thank you so much.

 

“Everybody always says you never give up and we’re no different and we just do what we can do each and every week, and sometimes we may not be the best and sometimes we may not have the right track position. Today, we had a really good car and I could race around and move around. That’s what’s so special about Homestead-Miami Speedway – the ability to put on a show. Kind of like we did there racing those guys. It was exciting from my seat. It was a lot of fun to cap off such an amazing year.”

 

Next Up:

The 2020 season kicks off with the traditional Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 62nd Daytona 500, the first points-paying race of the year, will go green on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020 with live coverage from FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

TSC PR

Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Kevin Harvick started second and finished fourth, earning seven bonus points.

● The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang took the lead at the start and led the first 20 laps, but Harvick faded to fourth as he reported his car was “a little tight.”

● By lap 30 he said that his car was way too tight.

● Harvick pitted on lap 36 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

● On lap 52, Harvick reported that his biggest problem was he could not turn well when entering turn one.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Harvick started fifth and finished second to earn eight bonus points.

● The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang pitted on lap 83 for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

● While third, Harvick pitted on lap 119 for four tires and fuel.

● Harvick again pitted on lap 139 for four tires, fuel and tire pressure and chassis adjustments.

● The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang was in first place late in the second stage but was passed by Kyle Busch with two laps to go.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

Harvick started second and finished fourth.

● The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang was too loose up top and too tight on the bottom as Harvick ran 5.2 seconds behind leader Busch.

● Harvick took the lead on lap 216 when he stayed out as the leaders pitted. He led until lap 224, then pitted for four tires, fuel and a tire pressure adjustment.

● The No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang led 41 laps total but finished the race fourth.

 

Notes:

● Harvick earned his 15th top-five and 26th top-10 of the season, and his 11th top-five and 17th top-10 in 19 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Homestead.

● Harvick’s 11 top-fives and 17 top-10s at Homestead are the most among all active Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Jimmie Johnson is the next-best driver with five top-fives and 11 top-10s.

● Harvick led three times for 41 laps to increase his laps-led total at Homestead to 414, placing him at second-most among all active Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers behind Busch’s 463 laps led at Homestead.

● Since joining SHR in 2014, Harvick has never finished outside the top-five at Homestead. He scored his first win at the track in 2014 to earn his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.

● This is Harvick’s sixth straight top-five and 12th straight top-10 at Homestead. He finished third in last year’s season finale.

● Harvick has never finished outside the top-20 in his career at Homestead. He hasn’t finished outside the top-10 since the 2007 season finale, when he finished 19th.

● This is Harvick’s fifth straight top-10 and his 15th top-10 in the last 17 races.

● Busch won the Ford EcoBoost 400to score his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. It was the 56th race win of his career, his fifth of the season and his second at Homestead. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was 4.578 seconds.

● There were three caution periods for a total of 15 laps.

● Only 10 of the 40 drivers in the Ford EcoBoost 400finished on the lead lap.

 

Championship 4 Final Points:

1.    Kyle Busch (5,040 points)

2.    Martin Truex Jr. (5,035 points)

3.    Kevin Harvick (5,033 points)

4.    Denny Hamlin (5,027 points)

Note:Harvick competed in the Championship 4 for the fifth time in the last six years. He won the championship in 2014.

 

Kevin Harvick, Driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Yeah, we just needed to do something different. They were so much better than us on the long run. That was our best chance, to have a caution there at the end, and we never got one. We did something different, hoping for a caution. We had to do the opposite, and it just didn’t work out. On the restarts I could do what I wanted to do and hold them off for 15 or 20 laps. This race has come down to that every year. You kind of play toward that, and they were quite a bit better than us on the long run. We had a really good car for those first 15-20 laps on the restarts and had a lot of speed, we just never got to try to race for it there with the caution.”

 

Next Up:

The 2020 season kicks off with the traditional Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 62nd Daytona 500, the first points-paying race of the year, will go green on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, with live coverage from Fox and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

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Champion: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr. of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 80):

Bowyer started 10th and finished seventh to earn four bonus points.

The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Haas Automation Ford driver reported his car was tight in the opening laps.

● As the race progressed the No. 14 came to life, and Bowyer began turning lap times as fast as anyone in the field.

● Bowyer made his first pit stop of the race on lap 36 for tires, fuel and very minor handling adjustments.

● Bowyer moved by Joey Logano for eighth on lap 60 and passed Jimmie Johnson for seventh on lap 70.

● The No. 14 finished the stage running seventh. Only 14 cars were on the lead lap.

● Bowyer pitted during the stage break for tires, fuel and minor changes to help the front end of the car turn better.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 160):

Bowyer started seventh and finished 10th to earn one bonus point.

The No. 14 dropped a few spots racing in traffic on the restart.

● Bowyer said his car was tight again and wouldn’t turn.

● Bowyer moved to ninth by lap 109.

● He pitted on lap 119 as the crew continued to work on the handling.

● Bowyer returned to pit lane on lap 141 during the caution.

● As darkness set in and the track cooled, the No. 14’s handling problems worsened, and Bowyer reported his car wouldn’t turn.

● Bowyer held on to 10th, and the crew made more-dramatic changes to aid the handling.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 267):

Bowyer started 12th and finished sixth.

The No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Haas Automation driver reported his car was better and “we will be fine.”

● Bowyer drove to eighth by lap 180, and his crew told him that “this is the best you have been.”

● Bowyer raced in seventh by lap 191 and made a green-flag stop on lap 209.

● He had climbed as high as fourth before reporting late in the stage that the car wouldn’t turn.

● Bowyer hung on to finish sixth.

 

Notes:

● Bowyer finished in the top-10 in points for the sixth time in his career.

● Bowyer earned his 18th top-10 of the season and his eighth top-10 in 14 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Homestead.

● This is Bowyer’s second consecutive top-10 and third consecutive top-15 at Homestead. He finished eighth in the series’ previous visit to the track last November.

● This is Bowyer’s second straight top-10. He finished eighth in the series’ last race at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.

● Kyle Busch won the Ford EcoBoost 400to score his 56th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fifth of the season and his third at Homestead. His margin of victory over second-place Martin Truex Jr. was 4.578 seconds.

● There were three caution periods for a total of 15 laps.

● Only 10 of the 40 drivers in the Ford EcoBoost 400finished on the lead lap.

 

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I wish we could have hung on to fourth place there at the end, but we got tight and finished sixth. That was a good run for us. It put us ninth in the points at the end of the year, and that’s probably where we deserve to be. We stubbed our toe one or two races and had some crummy luck at actually some good tracks for us – Martinsville – kind of got us behind the eight ball and kind of knocked us out of that Round of 8. That hurt us, but, all in all, we rise to the occasion in the playoffs and ran our best all year long in the playoffs, so I was proud of those efforts. My guys have worked hard this year, and they’re ready to work hard in the offseason to get ready for Daytona in February. Everyone at Ford Performance, Stewart-Haas Racing, Rush Truck Centers, Mobil 1 and all our other partners were really supportive this year, and we had a lot of fun. I’m very appreciative of what Gene Haas and Tony Stewart have created here at SHR. We’ll enjoy the next few weeks, and pretty soon we’ll get that itch and be ready to start racing again.”

 

Next Up:

The 2020 season kicks off with the traditional Speedweeks at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The 62nd Daytona 500, the first points-paying race of the year, will go green on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, with live coverage from Fox and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

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