Kyle Larson put on a dominating performance in the Ford EcoBoost 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday that ended in victory lane. Chris Buescher also celebrated after the checkered flag at Homestead, as he was crowned the 2015 Xfinity Series champion after an 11th-place race finish. Larson’s win sealed the manufacturers’ championship for Chevrolet. The Xfinity Series owners’ champion, the No. 22 Team Penske team, was declared a week earlier at Phoenix International Raceway.
“This is championship week, and it should be all about the champions,” Larson said. “So, congrats to Chris Buescher. It was time for him to celebrate. It always seemed odd to me when I would sit in the stands and see two cars doing burnouts. I wanted for Chris to have his moment, and he worked all season long for it.”
Buescher’s three closest championship competitors all finished in the top-10, with Ty Dillon in seventh, Chase Elliott in eighth and Regan Smith ninth. But Buescher came into Homestewad with a big enough points lead to only need a 13th-place finish or better to clinch the title, no matter how his competition fared. “I’m blessed to be here,” Buescher said. “It is so cool to be able to pull it off. It’s so nice to have everybody out here to support us and be with us for this accomplishment. This is what we have been fighting for since February and Daytona and these guys have done such a great job and stuck in there with us all year. It’s a huge accomplishment for our team.”
Buescher’s race, despite capping off a championship season, was lackluster, as he spent a significant portion of the race a lap down. Larson put Buescher a lap down by lap 72 of the 200-lap race when Buescher was 13th in the running order. After a series of cautions, Buescher got back on the lead lap while running 10th in the final 25 laps. “Unlike in the Sprint (Cup) Series where it is a focus on winning races, and you don’t have to worry so much about giving up on a bad day, Chris was on his game this year with Scott Graves as his crew chief, and he was on his game,” Buescher’s car owner, Jack Roush, said. “They managed to win two races and managed not to give up points on days they weren’t their best. That is what got us to this point.”
Much of the race was led by a pair of Kyles — Larson and Busch. Kyle Busch started on the pole and ran up front until Larson took the lead on a restart following a competition caution on lap 26. Larson then pulled away from Busch and everyone else. By lap 97, Larson had a lead of more than five-and-a-half seconds on then-second-place Busch. By a lap 117 yellow flag, Larson had lapped all but three other cars.
Busch was able to stay with Larson once the race restarted and the two swapped the lead back and forth a few times before Larson retook command of the lead before Busch was penalized when his crew let a tire get away during a pit stop on lap 174. Busch’s day got worse when he spun and hit the wall after contact with a lapped car, bringing out the sixth and final yellow flag inside the final 25 laps.
Just before the final caution, Austin Dillon took the lead from Larson. Prior to Dillon taking the top spot, all but two laps had been led by one of the two Kyles. Larson lost several spots on the final restart, but got back up to second inside the final 10 laps, and with under five laps remaining, retook the lead from Dillon. Dillon finished second, Erik Jones was third, Brian Scott fourth, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five. Daniel Suarez finished sixth and Darrell Wallace Jr. was 10th. Suarez also claimed series Rookie of the Year honors.