HOMESTEAD, Fla. — In a season where Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick combined to win nearly half the races, they weren’t good enough to beat Joey Logano for the Cup championship Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“It’s all for naught,” Busch said of a season where he tied his career-high with eight wins and had career highs in top fives (22) and top 10s (28). “We won eight races, that’s great, but forget about it now.”
Busch struggled with an ill-handling car and spotty pit work at times that forced crew chief Adam Stevens to make a gamble on staying out late, hoping for a caution.
When the team got it, Busch kept the lead off pit road but had nothing on the restart and fell back, finishing fourth.
“I don’t know what happened to it,” Busch said of his car’s handling. “I thought we were way better than that. We wouldn’t have unloaded today if we thought we were that far off.
“Adam gave a great call for strategy there. I didn’t think it was going to work. I thought we were going to finish about 12th of 13th and the pit stop fell in our lap. I didn’t get the best of restarts, but it didn’t matter, they were gone.”
Harvick won a career-high eight races, tied his career best with 23 top-five finishes and had a career-high 29 top 10s.
“It’s been a great year and we just got beat tonight,” said Harvick, who ran without suspended crew chief Rodney Childers on the pit box for the second consecutive week.
He struggled with his car at times during the 267-lap race before finishing third.
“Good in the day and not good enough at night” is how Harvick described his race.
Harvick led 58 laps – most of those before the sun set.
“As soon as it got dark we never could get our car tightened up there at the end,” Harvick said. “Then they made a great call to put us in position to win the race, and then the caution came out when (Brad Keselowski) spun (Daniel Suarez) out and came off pit road fourth, and just our strong point was not the restarts tonight, and wound up on the wrong side of it.”