HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Martin Truex Jr. capped the most successful season of his journeyman career as NASCAR’s champion.
Truex wrapped up his first Cup title Sunday night by winning at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where he beat Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski for the championship. All but Truex were former champions, but Truex was the favorite.
He thrived in that role, didn’t flinch when fellow Toyota driver Busch tried to use a different pit strategy to steal the title, then held off a hard-charging Busch over the final 12 laps to capture the title.
It was the eighth win of the season for Truex, first for Denver-based Furniture Row Racing, and second in three years for manufacturer Toyota.
Busch finished second for Joe Gibbs Racing as Toyota, the most dominant manufacturer this season, went 1-2 in the finale.
Kyle Larson, who was eliminated from the playoffs last month, finished third in a Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing. Harvick, seeking his second title, was fourth in a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford.
Keselowski wound up seventh and was stopped short in trying to give Team Penske a season-sweep of the two top American racing series. Penske won the IndyCar title in September.
The Truex victory also denied Ford its third win of the weekend — Ford drivers won the Truck Series race and the Xfinity Series race — and the manufacturer has not won a Cup title since 2004.
Truex climbed from his car on the frontstretch of the track and was mobbed by his Furniture Row teammates. Longtime partner Sherry Pollex, who has had a recurrence of ovarian cancer this year, pushed her way through the crowd and embraced Truex.
Truex sobbed tears of joy.
Missing from the celebration party? Furniture Row team owner Barney Visser, who suffered a heart attack two weeks ago and is sidelined in Colorado. After pouring millions and millions of dollars into his race team, Visser watched it win its first championship on television.