2015 didn’t get started in the fashion that NASCAR driver Kyle Busch desired. On February 21, Busch suffered a compound fracture in his right leg along with a fracture in his left foot during an Xfinity Series race at the Daytona International Speedway which cast some doubt for his chances to compete in the 2015 Sprint Cup Series. But Busch attacked his rehab with the same kind of relentlessness and aggression that he has on the race track on a weekly basis. And on May 16, Busch would make his season debut at the Sprint All-Star Race in Charlotte, North Carolina. Busch would go on to finish in sixth place that evening as he was in the process of getting his sea legs, but not too many people expected him to find his timing behind the wheel as quickly as he has.
On June 28 at Sonoma, a late trip to pit row for Busch in which he received four fresh tires and fuel allowed him to overtake Jimmie Johnson on a restart following a caution. And when Busch had the checkered flag in his sights, he only had to hold off his older brother Kyle in order to win the Toyota/Save Mart 350. For Busch it was a testament to his determination as he still wasn’t 100 percent when he got back into his No. 18 M&M’s Toyota.
As a result of Busch missing the first 11 races of the season, he had to be granted a special waiver by NASCAR in order to qualify for this year’s Chase for the Cup. Instead of having to finish in the top 16 of the driver standings in order to qualify for the Chase, Busch only needs to finish in the top 30, but he isn’t leaving anything to chance.
Busch would start last night’s Quaker State 400 at the Kentucky Motor Speedway in ninth place. But Busch would go on to lead 163 of the 267 laps with none more important than the final lap to secure his second win of the season. And whereas when Busch first returned to action that his quest to become Chase eligible seemed unrealistic, it is now becoming a reality. Busch has the next eight races to make up an 87-point deficit to Cole Whitt which would put him in the top 30 of the driver standings and give him a shot at the Sprint Cup Title this year.
Busch has the privilege of working for Joe Gibbs who is one of the classiest men in professional sports. As a head coach in the National Football League, Gibbs led the Washington Redskins to their only three Super Bowl Championships in franchise history. Gibbs’ golden touch has transferred to the race track where he is a three-time owner of a Sprint Cup Champion and his patience and positive attitude never allowed him to lose faith in Busch’s ability.
In Busch’s limited action this season he has four, top 10 finishes to his credit as he has let the other drivers on the circuit know that he is back as a force. The injury and the missed time has allowed Busch to come back more focused on racing due to the fact that he doesn’t have the much wiggle room in order for him to get where he wants to go. Busch was the NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year in 2005 and he has 31 wins under his belt, but if he is able to pull off what once seemed impossible a few weeks ago and secure a slot in the Chase, it will be another notch to his stellar and growing NASCAR resume.