NASCAR's Championship 4 Contenders Are Set For Battle

The Backstretch Blog's Race Day The End

WATCH: Martin Truex Jr. stops by “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”

NASCAR has spent so much time this year ushering in a new generation of fresh-faced, young drivers. "That was our approach, have the best season we can possibly have, that's really all you can do".

Truex hit 171.195 mph on Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the best of the four championship drivers.

It was the first Monster Energy Series title for the Denver-based Furniture Row Racing as well. And it all comes down to this: one race for the 2017 Championship at Homestead Miami Speedway. Busch, who scored the second-most points in 2017 behind Truex, suitably finished second in the title behind the No. 78. Nearly 15 years later, he's the 2015 champion and has nearly 200 victories in NASCAR's three national series.

Kyle Busch, the 2015 series champ, was sixth (169.492), 2012 champ Brad Keselowski was 11th (168.824) and 2014 champion Kevin Harvick was 18th (166.795). The high-profile stars of NASCAR are the show Sunday. Earlier this year, the last two Touring Car races were held on the undercard of the California 8 Hours at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

"That'd be crazy. You would drive yourself insane if you tried to rest everything on this 1 race", crew chief Cole Pearn said.

Busch returned to his car and put together a streak of four wins in five races to gain his spot. It's in the back of your mind all the time. Truex didn't know what was happening and ended up getting a points penalty that kept him from competing in the playoffs that year. His most recent victory came in the November Phoenix just over two years ago. Concussion Research Fund, Junior said his readiness to watch the next wave of racing stars, including future No. 88 car driver Alex Bowman, helped him make the retirement decision.

It's been a rough few months for Furniture Row Racing - team member Jim Watson died the night before a race, team owner Barney Visser suffered a heart attack, and Truex's girlfriend Sherry Pollex's cancer reappeared. That's eight races and includes two 39th-place finishes.

"Drivers have such big egos, all of us do, but Martin is not on that list", Earnhardt said.

Today, one of the #NASCAR greats makes his final race. That's how I approach racing.

"I don't know how we won that thing", Truex said. Harvick has claimed that he is the "underdog" heading into the final, but those words should be dismissed. "To think about all the rough days and bad days, the days that I couldn't run 20th; to be here, I never thought this day would come and to be here is so unbelievable". Busch is an outspoken hothead, one who's polarising but essential to a sport that revolves around post-race dramas. Yet he's overshadowed by Truex, who won seven races for Furniture Row Racing, the team that is aligned with Gibbs. It appeared Larson bumped Busch with two laps remaining, increasing Truex's lead to 0.68 seconds at the finish.

Last year, Jimmie Johnson - out of the reckoning this year - won his record-equalling seventh title (tying with the late Dale Earnhardt Sr and 'King' Richard Petty, who are both Motor Sport Hall of Fame nominees) from the back of the grid in a chaotic finale. His decision to retire - at least in part - was linked to concussions concerns. I'm not the same driver. And, the manufacturer is still stinging over last year's defeat. We were never going to give up, and we didn't. "And I'm glad I get to run it". Mid-Ohio, which hosted GT/GTA/GT Cup and GTS races on the undercard of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, has been dropped. This is going to be fun.

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