HOMESTEAD, Fla. — James Buescher started in the middle of the pack, barely cracked the top 10 and never even sniffed the lead.
He caught a huge break when his Turner Motorsports teammate made contact with his closest competition, Ty Dillon.
No doubt, Buescher felt fortunate to end up celebrating a championship in Victory Lane.
"It wasn't pretty," Buescher said. "It was a little messy, but we did it. ... This is definitely the coolest thing I've ever done in racing."
Buescher avoided trouble and finished 13th in the season finale Friday night, enough to win NASCAR's Truck Series championship by six points.
Cale Gale won the 200-mile race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, edging Kyle Busch at the line as both trucks sparked after hard contact.
The more significant celebration, though, was saved for Buescher. It was his first title in four full-time seasons.
"It was close. Ty was giving us a run for it," Buescher said. "I just about went in the fence myself, but I held it together and everything came our way."
Dillon was in position to pull off an upset with three laps remaining — he was running second and just a point behind — but made contact with Kyle Larson. Both trucks hit the wall in the fourth turn and were mangled in the mess.