Hamlin takes pole at final race of season

Hamlin takes pole at final race of season

Hamlin is winless this season for Joe Gibbs Racing and has hasn't raced for the championship since 2014.

He passed Truex with 12 laps remaining and pulled away to win for Roger Penske, the auto owner who celebrated this year his election into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, a 17th victory in the Indianapolis 500 and now a second title in NASCAR's top series.

Logano actually thinks he's the favorite based on how well his Team Penske crew has been running, but Busch thinks a Logano championship would spoil this season dominated by The Big Three.

Logano won the season finale Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway to grab his first Cup championship in a season in which he barely contended until the playoffs began.

"Ultimately, it's an upper-management decision, and that's part of it. We executed down the stretch like nobody's business", Logano said. "He passed me so fast".

"It's great to have the No. 1 pit stall for the race and I appreciate the teamwork by the guys on the 11", Busch said.

Team owner Tony Stewart, who fields Harvick's No. 4 Ford, lauded JGR's call. "I knew we had a short-run auto". I've already seen all the drama and people complaining.

"We did it! We won the championship!" If your organization can help you do that and give you every tool available to get that done, you're stupid to not do it. Gifting Busch the top pit stall that teammate Denny Hamlin had earned seems minor, but it quickly became the most intriguing elements of the weekend. Truex, a Toyota partner of Hamlin's but not an official teammate, went on to win the race anyway.

"Overall, just a frustrating night".

"It's big for us to get this race team up front here", said Hamlin.

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"Anything like this always stops with me", Gibbs said. I hate it, too, because I denied Martin past year. I don't know what else to say. Truex Jr. has done so in 10 while Harvick has done so in seven and Busch has done so in five. That's just one race down and two to go on NASCAR Championship Weekend.

Even Busch understood it was a big ask of Hamlin.

"That's probably too far, but it would sure be nice", Busch said. Hamlin now holds the Homestead-Miami Speedway track record with three Busch Pole Awards.

"Good for the company, bad for the sport", he said.

Logano posted a top speed of 171.701 miles per hour to complete a sweep of Saturday's practice sessions.

Hamlin turned a lap at 173.863 miles per hour in the closing seconds of Friday qualifying to bump Busch from the top starting spot.

He topped the leaderboard in the final two practice sessions of the season, not one of his best but perhaps the one that will lead to his first championship. "It's nothing we can't fix in short order".

And in the final 15-lap shootout to the finish, Logano used a power move on the outside line to shoot past Truex and drive away. Kevin Harvick was 12th, lowest of the title contenders, but he;s not overly concerned about where he's starting.

"Honestly, it really hasn't been that good", Harvick said.

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