Kyle Busch won the Nationwide Series title in style by claiming his ninth victory of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The 24-year-old fended off Carl Edwards in the closing laps, as the Roush Fenway driver charged from eighth place on the last restart after taking on a new set of tires for the final sprint of the race, while most of the frontrunners stayed out, led by Busch.
Edwards arrived on Busch's bumper with two laps to go but got loose while trying to follow the leader on Turn 4. He would eventually lose contact with the Joe Gibbs racer, who went on to underline his superiority throughout the year with another perfect score, which brought his points' total for the year to a record high in the series' history.
"This was such a great year," said Busch. "Really it's a true testament for this team, [crew chief] Jason [Ratcliff], Joe [Gibbs] and JD [Gibbs], all the guys who work so hard at Joe Gibbs Racing in order to make this possible.
"For us to come out here and win the final race of the season and really put the icing on the cake for our year and our championship, it really means a lot. It hasn't been done in a long time, so you know how hard I guess it is to do it, that somebody comes out here and wins the final race of the year, but that's what we set out to do."
"At the end of the race with Carl coming through on tires it was such a fun deal, fun to watch and fun to be a part of. Glad that we were able to hold him off and come out here and win this thing."
Besides his points total, Busch also set a number of records during his championship campaign. He led the most laps over a single season with 2,698 up front, posted a record 11 runner-up finishes, and became the first driver to win two national series races in the same day when he won in the Nationwide and Truck Series at Fontana in February.
He also gave Joe Gibbs a second consecutive owners' title, and became Toyota's first driver to win a championship in the second-tier series.
Edwards got the runner-up spot in the championship for the second year in a row with his second-place finish. Starting from pole position he later recovered well from an unscheduled stop in the early going to fix damage to the front end of his car caused by debris.
Before the final caution came out he had been on the receiving end of the wrong tire strategy as he stayed out while others pitted with 41 laps to go, only to see Busch fly past by him six laps later. The former Nationwide Series champion tried to make the same move work for him in the end, but he couldn't quite make it pay off.
"We needed a couple of more laps," said Edwards. "We got off sequence; we had those tires. I've got to say congrats to Kyle and those guys. We finished second to them in the championship, but those guys have really been a classic deal. I was just telling them that I didn't have the heart to run into them. It was the only way I was going to get by them at the finish line.
"I dove down there and got a good look at it, and I was thinking right about here, 'No, I better not.' But that's racing. We had a good time racing with these guys."
Jeff Burton finished third after leading the race for 49 laps and looked like the top contender to beat Busch at one stage. Behind him Joey Logano was fourth, who also led the race and looked strong in the first half of the race.
Denny Hamlin finished fifth and got payback on Brad Keselowski for previous run-ins. The Joe Gibbs driver pushed Keselowski into a spin on lap 35 coming out of Turn 4 while racing among the top 10. NASCAR parked him for a lap as a penalty, but Hamlin said it was worth taking.
"I wasn't feeling too bad about it," said Hamlin about the penalty. "I knew we could come back from it and our car was still in one piece. That's the thing, I wouldn't try to cause harm to anyone and I knew spinning him at the point that I wasn't going to get hurt and his car wasn't going to get hurt. I just wanted to make his day a little tougher."
Keselowski didn't get to enjoy a good farewell from JR Motorsports, finishing 12th and breaking a 16-race string of consecutive top-10 finishes. He first spun on lap nine, causing damage to his car, charged back from 38th place to move up to 10th as soon as lap 30, before Hamlin ran into him.
"He spun me out and didn't even tear it up," said Keselowski. "I think it's cool, I'm all right. I'm ready to move on.
"Just wanted to finish up with a stronger run than what we did today. But I put it in the fence early on in the race and tore the car up and took a bunch of speed out of it. That was my fault."
While Brendan Gaughan was the highest finishing rookie of the race, Penske's Justin Allgaier took Rookie of the Year honors.
Pos Driver Car Laps
1. Kyle Busch Toyota 200
2. Carl Edwards Ford 200
3. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 200
4. Joey Logano Toyota 200
5. Denny Hamlin Toyota 200
6. David Reutimann Toyota 200
7. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 200
8. Steve Wallace Chevrolet 200
9. Scott Speed Toyota 200
10. Matt Kenseth Ford 200
11. Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 200
12. Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 200
13. Jason Keller Ford 200
14. Paul Menard Ford 200
15. Mike Wallace Chevrolet 200
16. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 200
17. Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 200
18. Jason Leffler Toyota 200
19. Scott Wimmer Chevrolet 199
20. Justin Allgaier Dodge 199
21. Michael Annett Toyota 199
22. Kevin Conway Chevrolet 199
23. Tony Raines Chevrolet 199
24. John Wes Townley Ford 198
25. Parker Kligerman Dodge 198
26. Mark Green Chevrolet 198
27. Ken Butler III Chevrolet 198
28. Eric McClure Ford 198
29. Kelly Bires Chevrolet 198
30. Tim Andrews Chevrolet 197
31. Erik Darnell Ford 197
32. Justin Marks Toyota 196
33. Shelby Howard Chevrolet 196
34. Blake Koch Dodge 189
35. Danny O'Quinn Jr Chevrolet 52
36. Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 47
37. Chase Miller Toyota 26
38. Kenny Hendrick Ford 15
39. Mark Day Chevrolet 11
40. Terry Cook Chevrolet 7
41. Dennis Setzer Dodge 5
42. Johnny Chapman Chevrolet 4
43. Kevin Hamlin Ford 3