Kyle Busch captured the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) championship after leading 120 of 267 laps in route to the race victory and series the championship title in the season finale race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“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.” Busch said.
This was the second MENCS title for Busch (2015 championship).
Martin Truex Jr. led 103 laps, won the first stage of the race and finished in second place after a pit road mistake. Truex also finished second in the series standings.
“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.” Truex said.
Denny Hamlin finished 10th and finished the season in the fourth position in the series point standings.
“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.” Hamlin said.
Camry drivers did a Powerplay on the competition and set a single-season wins record of 19 times and led Toyota to its third manufacturer’s title in four years.
Daniel Hemric, driver of the No. 8 Camaro ZL1, clinched the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year honors after a 12th-place finish. Hemric is now the 19th different Chevrolet driver to win the award in NASCAR’s premier racing series since 1972.
“Yeah, it’s pretty special to say the least. I wish we were able to win Rookie of the Year and have a couple more solid finishes throughout the year than what we had, but about five or six years ago, myself and Ryan Preece somehow ended up tied with four or five races to go, so we knew we had to buckle down. And really proud of this group for doing that.” Hemric said.
Paul Menard closed out his full-time Cup career in the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang with a 17th-place finish and 19th in the series standings. 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.”
The 2020 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will kick off with Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 16, 2020 at 2:30 P.M. ET.