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Kyle Busch clinches regular-season championship at Indianapolis

Kyle Busch is the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Champion, claiming the distinction at the end of Stage 2 in Monday’s Big Machine Vodka 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Clinching the regular-season title hands Busch a 15-point bonus heading into the 10-race playoffs, which begin Sept. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

With six victories and five stage wins, the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing driver already had 35 playoff points entering the regular-season finale and will enter the final, championship-hunting stretch of the season with 50 playoff points to his name — barring a win at Indy, which would give him 55.

RELATED: Kyle Busch career highlights

Martin Truex Jr. clinched the regular-season championship in 2017, its first year of inception. He went on to win the title months later at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Busch and Kevin Harvick battled for regular-season supremacy throughout the year, along with Truex Jr. Together, they formed the sport’s “Big 3.” Busch and Harvick pulled ahead of Truex over the last several weeks, though.

Monday’s clinch completed a stellar performance throughout the season’s first 26 races. Busch claimed the points lead following the sixth race of the season at Martinsville and never lost it. He entered Monday’s race 39 points ahead of Harvick.