HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Kyle Busch knew he had lost before it even happened.
"Race is over," Busch said over the radio with 25 laps to go in Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His spotter responded that no it wasn't, even though Busch was trailing the leader Martin Truex Jr. by 2.7 seconds at the time.
Turns out Busch knew what he was talking about.
He finished Sunday's race in second, the season in second -- all of which cost him a championship that would have been his ... second. Busch did have the fastest car on Sunday, passing Truex at times earlier in the race, but he basically ran out of time.
"I was making up some ground (at the end)," Busch said, "but it wasn't enough."
Busch may point to one point or another in the race where things got away from him, but really it came down to this. He gambled. He made a gutsy call. And then bad luck did him in.
Midway through the third and final stage of the race, Truex pitted. So did Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick, the other two championship contenders. But not Busch.
Instead, he opted to wait, build an advantage and only stop once (as compared to twice for the other three contenders). That meant as long as there were no cautions for the rest of the race, Busch would likely be in the clear. No cautions, and Busch would take home the trophy.
"It did cost us track position," Kyle Busch said, "but I was all for it."
Only his brother Kurt Busch did him in. Kurt Busch spun out in the inside corner and caused the yellow flag to come out with 38 laps left, which gave everyone else a chance to get in that second stop for free. Kyle Busch pitted with the rest of the field, but Truex had already assumed the lead by then.