"I think it's been well documented that this has been the absolute worst year of my career, bar none, whether it was racing ASA cars or late models or Legends cars or even being here in the big three," Busch said. "It's a huge disappointment. ... I can't seem to put it all together when it matters, and you have to in this sport, otherwise you'll be kind of shown the door."
Smith did some smoky burnouts, then headed to Victory Lane. Joey Logano also celebrated after clinching the series owners title for Joe Gibbs Racing. It was the fourth owners title for the former Washington Redskins football coach, who matched the previous series record held by Richard Childress.
Stenhouse and his crew, though, enjoyed a more significant moment.
Stenhouse became the first since Martin Truex Jr. in 2005 to win back-to-back titles in the developmental series. Sam Ard (1983-84), Larry Pearson (1986-87), Randy LaJoie (1996-97) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1998-98) also accomplished the feat.
Stenhouse started the finale fourth and had a 20-point lead over Elliott. He needed to finish 16th or better to clinch another trophy.
The lead would have been considerably tighter had Sadler not wrecked last week at Phoenix.
But Sadler triggered a three-car accident that brought the race to a halt and essentially ruined his championship hopes. It was reminiscent of last year, when Sadler also finished second to Stenhouse after some late-season setbacks.
"It's way more disappointing this year because we had control of the points the whole entire season," Sadler said. "We raced as hard as we could every weekend, but we came up short. Didn't take but a few races to put us behind. ... Second is not what we wanted, but we ran competitive all year long."