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Kyle Busch laments championship loss, blames ‘good buddy’ Joey Logano

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Kyle Busch fell one position short of winning his second NASCAR title in three years.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship Ford EcoBoost 400 Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images

For much of the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch have been the dominant drivers, just as they were again in the championship finale Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

As opposed to the majority of the year where Truex often got the better of him, Busch seemed poised to turn the tables on his rival and quasi-teammate in the race that decided the series title. Yet when the Ford 400 concluded, Truex was celebrating in victory lane while Busch was left to lament an old nemesis and a late caution he thought was questionable.

A speedy Toyota combined with a sound pit strategy had placed Busch in the catbird seat in the closing laps where if the race stayed green he would handily win the championship. But the advantageous position vanished when a caution for Kurt Busch’s (Kyle’s older brother) single-car spin brought out the caution the younger Busch didn’t need to see with 38 laps remaining.

“I don’t know if there was really stuff out there,” Busch said. “I didn’t see anything out there, but it’s always inevitable. It’s always going to happen. So I guess that we just didn’t think of it, and it bit us.”

After pit stops the running order was re-stacked and Busch found himself trailing Truex on the ensuing restart. Truex now held the advantage, as his car was better on short green-flag runs whereas Busch’s car was stronger over longer stretches.

As expected, Truex quickly built up a lead with Busch falling back before he began moving forward after a handful of laps. But as Busch charged forward he encountered Joey Logano, who was involved in a post-race fracas with Busch in the spring.

The extended time it took to pass Logano cost Busch. He would eventually run Truex down, but because he had worn out his tires in the process he could never make the winning pass.

“Battling with (Logano) there; just wasting too much time with him,” Busch said. “He held me up. He was there blocking every chance he got. [I] got a real buddy there, but that’s racing. That’s what happens.”

And on a night when he felt like he was superior, Busch instead missed out on winning his second series championship in three years. Kevin Harvick (finished fourth) and Brad Keselowski (seventh) were the other title contenders who fell short.

“[He] deserved it probably on every other race but today,” Busch said. “I thought we were better. Doesn’t matter though. They were out front when it mattered the most.”