HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Joey Logano was playfully hoisting the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series trophy and then Hudson, his infant son who he placed inside the giant silver chalice after his first Cup title Sunday night.
Inside the Homestead-Miami Speedway media center sat a dejected trio of divers seated left to right: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. The most emotional of the bunch, understandably, was Truex, the defending champion whose race team’s existence basically came to an end here.
“It's a tough night,” said Truex, who appeared to be fighting back tears. “It's a tough way to lose. You know, kind of reversed the tale from last year. Last year we did the same thing they did tonight. That's the way it goes.”
Truex held the lead before Logano passed his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota with 11 laps left. He finished second, just one spot from becoming the first driver to repeat as champion since Jimmie Johnson in 2009-10. Harvick finished third and Busch was fourth.
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While Truex and some key members of his team will make the move to Joe Gibbs Racing next season — where he will join Busch as a teammate — the finality of it all hit him. Furniture Row Racing announced in September the team would cease operations at season’s end.
“I’m going to miss these guys,” Truex said. “Wish we could’ve won it. We had it . . . I don’t know what else I could’ve done.”
Busch was the Championship 4 driver who struggled the most as a combination of pit stop and car issues plagued his effort. He led late in the race, but it was on a pit strategy that needed a lucky caution to give him any chance to win. Busch got that yellow when JGR teammate Daniel Suarez was spun out with 20 laps left.
Busch exited pit row first, a lead he lost almost immediately after the race went green.
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