Kyle Busch Wins the Championship in Homestead, Victory scores third driver’s Cup Series title for Toyota

Suzanne Disspain Photo

For the third time, a Toyota driver can call themselves a Cup Series Champion as Kyle Busch earned the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) title after winning the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. 

Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Homestead-Miami Speedway

Race 36 of 36 – 400.5 miles, 267 laps

TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS

1st, KYLE BUSCH

2nd, MARTIN TRUEX JR.

3rd, ERIK JONES

4th, Kevin Harvick*

5th, Joey Logano*

10th, DENNY HAMLIN

20th, MATT DiBENEDETTO

29th, DREW HERRING

33rd, TIMMY HILL

*non-Toyota driver

·         Kyle Busch is the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series champion after leading the most laps (120 of 267) en route to earning the race victory and series title in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

·         It marked the second MENCS title for Busch after also winning the 2015 championship.

·         Martin Truex Jr. finished second in the race and end of year standings after leading 103 laps (of 267) on Sunday and winning the first stage of the race.

·         Erik Jones (third) earned his 10th top-10 in the 36th race of the season.

·         Denny Hamlin (10th) finishes the season in the fourth position in the driver point standings.

·         Camry drivers set a single-season wins record, visiting Victory Lane 19 times to help Toyota to its third manufacturer’s title in four years. In total, Toyota has earned 143 victories since joining the Cup Series in 2007.

TOYOTA QUOTES

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 1st

How sweet is this moment for you?

“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. We had one issue, but man it’s so much fun to work with these guys and this group. Everybody that 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.“

What does this mean to the Gibbs family after the passing of J.D. earlier this year?

“I know it’s been a difficult time on Melissa and Joe (Gibbs) and to reward him with a championship — I don’t know how much it means to them, but it’s the best I can do. I know J.D. (Gibbs) was looking down on us all year long. Damn, what a season Joe Gibbs Racing put together. For as awesome as our group is and everybody back at the shop and how awesome they are at building some really, really special race cars we put it on them this time.”

Did you soak this celebration in a little bit more the second time around?

“The last time I did a burnout, first it messed up the flag and everything. So, I wanted to get a good shot with the flag everywhere and make sure everybody could get a good shot of the flag, because we’re the 2019 champions.”

What kind of statement was tonight’s performance from the 18 team?

“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 – is 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.”

How does it feel to get your second championship?

“Right now, it’s all good but I’ll let you know in a couple weeks when it soaks in maybe. Obviously, I had tears in my eyes because this is just such an awesome moment. To share it with my family, with the Gibbs family and with the love and support of all of my sponsors, it’s a dream come true.”

What made the difference with your Camry during the second half of the race?

“Adam Stevens (crew chief). Just communicating with him and talking with him and being able to get the right adjustments on the race car to be able to get it to where we needed it. Then, when the lights came on, our car came to life. I think the 19 (Martin Truex Jr.) was really fast too. If it would’ve been a straight up race I don’t know there at the end. But, man, he (Truex) restarted fourth on that restart and we drove away so I don’t know. I think we earned this one.”

JOE GIBBS, team owner, Joe Gibbs Racing

What are your thoughts on winning a fifth Cup Series championship?

“It’s a thrill for us. The Lord blessed us with a great night. I spent three and a half hours worrying about everything. I didn’t know what was going to happen. I want to thank Mitch, Monster and Toyota. Norm Miller got us started over here. Coy (Gibbs) a big part of our family – our whole family is here. Thank you to everybody for being a part of this. It’s a thrill for me and to all of our fans, thank you to each and every one of you guys. We appreciate it so much.“

What does this championship mean and did it feel like J.D. was smiling down at you?

“I just want to say that J.D. (Gibbs) spent his entire professional life building our race team and this whole year I think is just a tribute to him. Everybody that saw the Daytona 500 and everything that’s happened this year would have to think the Lord had his hand on what has taken place. I believe J.D. had a great view of it. Everybody go to JDGibbsLegacy.com. Appreciate everybody. This whole year we’re celebrating his life.”

ADAM STEVENS, crew chief, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

How do you explain the emotion of a moment like this after a year of such hard work?

“You’ve got to keep it in perspective, man. The goal from the time we left Homestead last year was to win it this year and that’s all we’ve tried to do and keep that in mind. I wish we had another dozen races to go with it, but we got the big trophy.“

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 2nd

How did you refocus yourself after the mistake on pit road?

“When things like that happen all you can do is do your best. Just try to forget about it and make it up. We got most of the way back there, just not quite all of the way. It’s unfortunate. I thought we were going to be okay and then the start of the third stage I had to restart third and I wish I would’ve let Denny (Hamlin) beat me off of the pit road restart and restart fourth. I felt like if we could’ve got by him there we would’ve had a shot at it. I just got blitzed on the outside by a few guys there on the restart with the 20 (Erik Jones) and the 22 (Joey Logano) and those guys. I had to race them so hard it hurt my right-front tire and then that whole run I just faded and got tight and lost all of my track position. At the end, we were way faster but just too much ground to make up. Unfortunate, but that’s the way it goes. We tried hard, we had a hell of a season and congrats to the 18 bunch.”

Do you feel this season is a success?

“Yeah, to get here is so difficult. To win seven races is so difficult so, yeah successful but at the same time dissapointing.”

ERIK JONES, No. 20 DeWalt Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

FInishing Position: 3rd

How was your race tonight?

“It was up and down for us. It really started pretty far off and just got our car really good by the end. I was feeling pretty confident the last stage. We were able to pick up a lot of ground and had the fastest car for a little bit, but got in the wall one too many times and didn’t have a shot at the end. It was a good day. Those guys are the best – the 18 (Kyle Busch) and the 19 (Martin Truex Jr.), so to run with them was a good feeling. The DeWalt Camry was good at the end. It was nice to finish off the year strong because the last two here haven’t been very good to us, so it was good.”

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

FInishing Position: 10th

What caused the overheating issue during the race tonight?

“We put too much tape on. Chris (Gabehart, crew chief) is really aggressive with his calls and he tried to add some tape there and it just overheated. All of my gauges were pegged and they peg it up a really high number so we weren’t going to make it. But, I’ve got to say thank you to TRD for that thing staying together. That is unbelievable. A hell of a season by our guys. We gave ourselves a shot. At the end there we woke up and I really just wanted a chance to go after them after that pit stop, but with the overheating I was going to blow up so I had to make the right call and try to un-lap ourselves and try to get a caution and try for a miracle. It stinks, but also we had a great year.”

Toyota Racing PR

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