Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Nationwide Series title in style by claiming his ninth victory of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The 24-year-old fended off Carl Edwards in the closing laps, as the Roush Fenway driver charged from eighth place on the last restart after taking on a new set of tyres for the final sprint of the race, while most of the frontrunners stayed out, led by Busch.
Edwards arrived on Busch's bumper with two laps to go but got loose while trying to follow the leader through Turn 4. He would eventually lose contact with the Joe Gibbs racer, who went on to underline his superiority throughout the year with another perfect score, which brought his points total for the year to a series record.
"This was such a great year," said Busch. "Really it's a true testament for this team, [crew chief] Jason [Ratcliff], Joe [Gibbs] and JD [Gibbs], all the guys that work so hard at Joe Gibbs Racing in order to make this possible.
"For us to come out here and win the final race of the season and really put the icing on the cake for our year and our championship, it really means a lot. It hasn't been done in a long time, so you know how hard I guess it is to do it, that somebody comes out here and win the final race of the year, but that's what we set out to do.
"At the end of the race with Carl coming through on [fresh] tyres it was such a fun deal, fun to watch and fun to be a part of. Glad that we were able to hold him off and come out here and win this thing."
Besides his points total, Busch also set a number of records during his championship campaign. He led the most laps over a single season with 2698 up front, posted a record 11 runner-up finishes, and became the first driver to win two national series races in the same day when he won in the Nationwide and Truck Series at Fontana in February.
He also gave Joe Gibbs a second consecutive owners' title, and became the first Toyota driver to win a championship in the second-tier series.
Edwards got the runner-up spot in the championship for the second year in a row with his second-place finish. Starting from pole position, he recovered well from an unscheduled stop in the early going to fix damage to the front end of his car caused by debris.
Before the final caution came out he had been on the wrong tyre strategy as he stayed out while others pitted with 41 laps to go, only to see Busch fly past by him six laps later.
The former Nationwide Series champion tried to make the same move work for him in the end, but he couldn't quite make it pay off.
"We needed a couple of more laps," said Edwards. "We got off sequence; we had those tyres. I've got to say congrats to Kyle and those guys. We finished second to them in the championship, but those guys have really been a classic deal. I was just telling them that I didn't have the heart to run into them. It was the only way I was going to get by them by the finish line.
"I dived down there and got a good look at it, and I was thinking right about here, 'No, I better not.' But that's racing. We had a good time racing with these guys."
Jeff Burton finished third after leading the race for 49 laps and looked like the top contender to beat Busch at one stage. Behind him Joey Logano was fourth, having also led and looked strong in the first half of the race.
Denny Hamlin finished fifth and got payback on Brad Keselowski for previous run-ins. The Joe Gibbs driver pushed Keselowski into a spin on lap 35 coming out of Turn 4 while racing among the top ten. NASCAR parked him for a lap as a penalty, but Hamlin said it was worth the punishment.
"I wasn't feeling too bad about it," said Hamlin about the penalty. "I knew we could come back from it and our car was still in one piece. That's the thing, I wouldn't try to cause harm to anyone and I knew spinning him at the point that I wasn't going to get hurt and his car wasn't going to get hurt. I just wanted to make his day a little tougher."
Keselowski did not get to enjoy a good farewell from JR Motorsports, finishing 12th and breaking a 16-race string of consecutive top ten finishes. He first spun on lap nine, causing damage to his car, then charged back from 38th place to move up to 10th as soon as lap 30, before Hamlin ran into him.
"He spun me out and didn't even tear it up," said Keselowski. "I think it's cool, I'm alright. I'm ready to move on.
"Just wanted to finish up with a stronger run than what we did today. But I put it in the fence early on in the race and tore the car up and took a bunch of speed out of it. That was my fault."
While Brendan Gaughan was the highest finishing rookie of the race, Penske's Justin Allgaier took rookie of the year honours.
Pos Driver Car Laps 1. Kyle Busch Toyota 200 2. Carl Edwards Ford 200 3. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 200 4. Joey Logano Toyota 200 5. Denny Hamlin Toyota 200 6. David Reutimann Toyota 200 7. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 200 8. Steve Wallace Chevrolet 200 9. Scott Speed Toyota 200 10. Matt Kenseth Ford 200 11. Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 200 12. Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 200 13. Jason Keller Ford 200 14. Paul Menard Ford 200 15. Mike Wallace Chevrolet 200 16. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 200 17. Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 200 18. Jason Leffler Toyota 200 19. Scott Wimmer Chevrolet 199 20. Justin Allgaier Dodge 199 21. Michael Annett Toyota 199 22. Kevin Conway Chevrolet 199 23. Tony Raines Chevrolet 199 24. John Wes Townley Ford 198 25. Parker Kligerman Dodge 198 26. Mark Green Chevrolet 198 27. Ken Butler III Chevrolet 198 28. Eric McClure Ford 198 29. Kelly Bires Chevrolet 198 30. Tim Andrews Chevrolet 197 31. Erik Darnell Ford 197 32. Justin Marks Toyota 196 33. Shelby Howard Chevrolet 196 34. Blake Koch Dodge 189 35. Danny O'Quinn Jr Chevrolet 52 36. Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 47 37. Chase Miller Toyota 26 38. Kenny Hendrick Ford 15 39. Mark Day Chevrolet 11 40. Terry Cook Chevrolet 7 41. Dennis Setzer Dodge 5 42. Johnny Chapman Chevrolet 4 43. Kevin Hamlin Ford 3
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