HOMESTEAD — 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," he 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 NASCAR trucks season finale Friday night, enough to win the championship by six points.
Cale Gale won the Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, edging Kyle Busch as both trucks sparked after hard contact approaching the finish line.
"I got drove into the fence," said Busch, clearly upset with the outcome.
"It was close. Ty was giving us a run for it," said Buescher, 22, who earned his first title in four full-time seasons. "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 left — he was running second and just a point behind — but made contact with Kyle Larson. Both trucks hit the wall in Turn 4 and were mangled. Afterward, Dillon questioned whether Larson should have been racing so hard because he wasn't in the title hunt.
Buescher was far enough behind Dillon and Larson that he could drive around the wreckage that also collected Ryan Blaney.
Timothy Peters finished eighth and was second in points, six behind Buescher.
"We were trying to hit the home run in the bottom of the ninth, but it bounced off the wall," said Dillon, who finished 25th and dropped to fourth in points, with Joey Coulter third in the race and in points.
FORMULA ONE: Points leader Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull had the fastest practice time at 1 minute, 37.718 seconds for Sunday's race at a new track in Austin, Texas, the first series race in America since the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last hosted F1 in 2007.