The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season began and ended in the same way – with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota on top.
Gibbs had three cars sweep the top three spots in February at Daytona with Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, and Erik Jones. Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Busch led Martin Truex Jr. and Jones across the finish line to bring the curtain down on 2019 and cap off a historic season for the organization.
Busch won both the race and the championship. His victory gave team owner Joe Gibbs a final tally of 19 wins this season, which is the new single-season record for an organization. Hendrick Motorsports had set the previous mark with 18 wins in 2007.
Joe Gibbs Racing now has 176 victories in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“For me, it started with the Daytona 500,” said Gibbs. “I think anybody that saw that would say there’s no way that could happen by accident. I felt like God was kind of overseeing that. I think J.D. [Gibbs’s son, who died in January] was there, and then it kind of continued the entire year for me. It’s been emotional to think that you could win the number of races we’ve won. It’s just something that normally doesn’t happen. I think he was a big part of it for us.”
Toyota Racing has won 143 races since joining the series in 2007. The manufacturer also took home this year’s manufacturers’ championship.
“I started in this job in 2007, and we were looking through some of the statistics and in 2007 Chevy won 26 races and Rick Hendrick’s team won 18,” said Ed Laukes, group vice president marketing for Toyota Motor North America at the start of the weekend. “So for us to even get to that point from 2007 to 2019 where we not only can match, but potentially pass the pinnacle of Hall of Fame Rick Hendrick and the legacy that he has within NASCAR, is really special.
“The manufacturers’ championship is obviously a piece of personal pride for us that we push all the time, so whether it’s in any one of the three series, it’s a big deal for us. So we’re pretty excited.”
Busch won his second championship in five years with Gibbs. It is the fifth Cup Series title for Gibbs as an owner.
“Well, it damn sure better,” cracked Busch of the 1-2-3 finish meaning something for Gibbs. “What else can we do for the guy? I mean, damn.
“That man is relentless. He is at the shop, whether it’s 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning, every single morning, that man is there, and he works. This is his life. This is what he does. Same as me, this is what he does. And I think that’s why we respect each other so much and we get along so well.”