(Reuters) - Kevin Harvick won the last race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season and the series championship in thrilling finale at Homestead, Florida on Sunday.
The Ford EcoBoost 400 began with Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman still in the chase for the Sprint Cup, the most coveted title in American motor sport.
With three laps remaining the crown came down to a winner-take-all dash with Harvick, Hamlin and Newman holding down the top three positions with the race under caution and the field about to take a restart.
Harvick would hold his nerve and fight off a final challenge from his rivals to register his fifth race win of the season and clinch a first NASCAR Cup title after finishing third in the series standings three of the previous four seasons.
"I'm just really excited," said Harvick said in a post-race television interview. "Just really happy. I've been trying for 13 years."
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Gene Cherry)