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Kyle Busch Regular Season Champion

Kyle Busch clinches regular-season championship at Darlington

Kyle Busch is the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Champion, claiming the distinction for the second consecutive year following his third-place performance in the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

Clinching the regular-season title hands Busch a 15-point bonus heading into the 10-race playoffs, which begin Sept. 15 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The top 10 finishers in the regular-season standings receive bonus points on a sliding scale, starting with 15 for first and ending with one extra point for finishing 10th.

RELATED: Career highlights for Busch

“Obviously we set out to do that here a few weeks back,” Busch said. “We knew when (Logano) passed us and got the lead from us that it was going to be hard to get it back. But fortunately, we went back into stage racing a little bit more and tried to get some of the stage points, and that helped us. They weren’t able to capitalize on stage points. It’s good to get the regular-season championship, to get that 15 extra bonus points for the playoffs. That’s what we set out to do.”

Busch has been consistently excellent throughout 2019. His lowest position in the points standings all year was fourth after Las Vegas, the third race of the season. He was up to first the next week after his first win of the year, at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.

Joey Logano held the points lead following his win at Michigan International Speedway in June and managed to hold off Busch for seven races before “Rowdy” caught and passed the Team Penske driver in early August at Watkins Glen International.

With four victories and nine stage wins, the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing driver already had 29 playoff points entering Darlington — and he won Stage 2 on Sunday night to add another.

Martin Truex Jr. clinched the regular-season championship in 2017, its first year of inception.