NascaR spRINT cup
There’s a time-honored tradition of
Cup drivers conducting raids on the
lower echelons of NASCAR’s national
But when racing in a secondary
event (say, an Xfinity Series race) has an
unpleasant outcome (such as a broken
leg and foot) on the eve of a rather
more important event (the Daytona
500, perhaps), you might think that a
driver would step back and take a
moment to `reassess their priorities.
Kyle Busch thinks differently.
Not only did he keep racing in Xfinity
and Camping World Truck Series
events once he’d returned to the
cockpit in May, he did so to
considerable effect. Busch added six
Xfinity wins to take his all-time tally to
76, as well as two more Truck victories.
Across all three championships, he
made 13 visits to Victory Lane in
2015, despite being on the sidelines
between Daytona and the All-Star Race.
As a comparison, fellow serial
trophy-bandit Joey Logano ran an
uninterrupted season, and earned
four Xfinity wins and his maiden Truck
Series victory to keep his six 2015
Cup wins company: a haul that
combines for a total of 11.
When viewed in those sorts of
terms, it’s scary to think what Busch
might have done if he’d had an intact
leg for the entire year...
Despite time on the sidelines, Busch added
more Xfinity (ABOVE) and Truck (TOP)
trophies to his already-heaving collection.
ThE busch lEaguEs
winnEr AT EVEry lEVEl
1,000lbs of brake pressure,” he said.
“I don’t know what that equates to if you
were doing a leg press, but it’s a lot. The
foot definitely tells me that it’s a lot.
“I knew it was going to get painful and
I was going to have to power through it,”
he added, “but when you’ve got fresh
tires and seven laps to go and you see the
checkered flag waiting for you, you forget
about all those things.”
What followed was a demonstration of
versatility that would do IndyCar proud.
With a road course win under his belt,
Busch added consecutive victories at a
1.5-miler (Kentucky), a one-miler (New
Hampshire) and a superspeedway (the
Brickyard 400 at Indy, no less). The streak
surprised even him, and it could have been
even better had he not run dry on the final
lap at Pocono, derailing what would have
been a fourth-straight victory.
For all the work that Busch had done
to reverse his early disadvantages, there
were still a few scares awaiting him in the
Chase. A crash caused by a cut tire at
New Hampshire left him last among the
contenders as the series moved onto the
first elimination round at Dover, but he
rescued his chances with a second place.
A pitlane collision with Kyle Larson hurt
his chances at Charlotte, but once he’d
dusted himself off from that, he became
a regular presence toward the front.
The final showdown at Homestead
pitched Busch the Comeback King
against the reigning champion (Harvick),
the sentimental favorite (Jeff Gordon),
and the plucky outsider (Martin Truex Jr.).
NASCAR couldn’t have hoped for a better
cast, but if the Disneyland version of the
last race had Gordon signing off with a
fifth championship, Busch had the real
world locked down. Each driver had the
same mission: to simply finish ahead of
the other three. Busch removed any
doubt on that front by winning the race.
“All of what happened [during the
season]… I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re
looking to achieve a championship,” Busch
said. “It’s certainly not easy, but it’ll make
you mentally stronger and physically
stronger. This is definitely a lot different
season than anybody would have
expected to have happen for myself, or
this race team, or anything in this sport.”
“All of what happened...
I wouldn’t recommend it if
you’re looking for a
(MAin) Skittles-bobbing on the yard
of bricks. Eventually,
this will become an
Busch takes the
checkered flag at the
Kyle and Kurt
Busch are the
second pair of
in NASCAR history,
and Terry Labonte
still have the edge -
Terry won two, in
1984 and ’96.