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Kyle Busch wins NASCAR title; Jeff Gordon says good-bye

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Kyle Busch roared into the lead on a re-start 7 laps from the finish and went on to win the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday. With the win, Busch claimed the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

Kevin Harvick, last season’s champion finished second and was also runner-up in this season’s title chase. Brad Keselowski was second, Joey Logano finished third and Kyle Larson fifth.

Jeff Gordon, in his final race as an active driver, finished 6th and claimed the third spot in the championship standings. The only other driver with a chance to win the title going into the race was Martin Truex, Jr. He finished 12th in the race and fourth in the final championship standings.

The race was highly competitive with Busch, Harvick, Logano and Keselowski each leading at least 40 of the 267 laps. Keselowski seemed to have the race under control until a caution flag came out in the waning laps. Busch vaulted into the lead when the green flag waved and he wound up winning comfortably.

Busch was a long-shot even to make the Sprint Cup Chase. After suffering leg fractures before the first race of the season, Busch wound up missing 11 races. He needed a spectacular performance over the next 15 races just to have the opportunity. Busch did the improbable.

A large portion of the 80,000 in attendance came to see Gordon close out his career with a championship. He led briefly for 9 laps, but the final 2/3 of the race saw him regularly running between the 8th and 12th position. An aggressive move on the final restart enabled him to earn a solid top 10 finish.

“We all know nothing would have been quite better than (winning the championship) and the win,” Gordon said after the race. “But I’ve learned a lot in life and there is no such thing as a perfect day and a perfect life. Just like there is no such thing as a perfect race car.”

Gordon finishes his career by driving in 797 consecutive races. He is NASCAR’s all-time leader in that category. His 93 career wins ranks third and his four championships rank only behind Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and Jimmie Johnson.

The order of finish from the Ford EcoBoost 400 can be found here.

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Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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