First, I want to admit I was wrong. I claimed in another blog about three months ago that Kyle Busch WOULD NOT WIN the championship, and I was wrong. As a fan and blogger of NASCAR I can admit when I was dead wrong, so congratulations to Kyle Busch and all of #RowdyNation! Now, on to the blog, one of the biggest debates in NASCAR currently is whether or not Kyle Busch deserved to run for the championship after missing the first 11 races of the season. In this post, I want to highlight 3 reasons why Kyle Busch EARNED his 2015 Cup title!! Hope you enjoy and as always feel free to comment your thoughts! Let's get going!
1. Raced & Won his way into the Chase
Kyle Busch is talented, no doubt. He has shown through out his career that he is built to win races, the biggest question has been his ability to be consistent. This weakness challenged Busch in his return, since NASCAR allowed Busch to race his way into the Chase via a waiver. Busch would not only need to win, but consistently finish near the top of the field in order to scrape up enough points to make it inside the top-30 in the standings. Looking back at his return, Busch struggled at first before taking the NASCAR world by storm when he won four out of five races between Sonoma and Indianapolis (Sonoma, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Indy). In the midst of winning Busch also accomplished the goal of making the top-30 in points, which made him eligible for the Chase. Busch legally raced his way in, but fans seemed to have a problem with Busch being Chase eligible. Fans act like NASCAR made it easy for Busch, but it was the exact opposite. He had to win at least one race which is no guarantee, and out run teams that have already had 11 races to stock up points. If anything Busch was in a deep hole to kick-off his season. At the end of the day Kyle Busch raced harder, tried harder, and was better than all of the other teams he passed in the standings. They had 11 more weeks to earn points and failed, don't blame Busch for doing what others couldn't in half the time. If this were another driver like Jeff Gordon or Dale Jr., fans would be amazed and brag about how their driver did the impossible in half the time. Just be impressed don't hate the man for playing my the rules and taking advantage of the system.
2. Busch's Injury was NASCAR's fault
In case you have forgotten exactly what happened here is a video of the crash:
Busch spun into the inside wall at Daytona heading into turn 1, where he broke his leg and foot. Of course these injuries are why Busch had to sit out for nearly three months, but would have never happened if the correct safety measures had been taken care of. I will come out and say that NASCAR is to blame for Busch's injury. If NASCAR had mandated tracks to install safer barriers in every location, Busch may have never been hurt. There is an argument that Busch could have been hurt regardless, but I think otherwise. Over the years fans have seen many other incidents with the same level of impact where drivers walked away with nothing but a bruised body. For example, think back to Brad Keselowski when he was flipped at Atlanta or Jeff Gordon at Las Vegas in 2008, both involving cars hitting a safer barrier at a high rate of speed. These crashes were hard but the driver walked away un-injuried both times. NASCAR will never be injury proof, but there is an argument that Busch would have never been hurt if safer barriers were already installed (they are now). This justifies one thing, NASCAR was in the right to give Busch an injury waiver, considering they were responsible for the wreck that took Busch out. If Busch was doing something else outside of NASCAR and got hurt, then he should not have received it. The reality is he was driving in a NASCAR regulated event, so he should have been protected with a safe car and safe walls. If you broke your brothers arm or leg, wouldn't you feel obligated to make it up? NASCAR did the right thing by realizing their own mistake and giving Busch a chance at making the Chase if he met the qualifications. Notice Busch did NOT get a free pass, but a chance. NASCAR was the reason Busch missed time, so naturally I was happy to see them try to make things right and give Busch a shot.
3. Took Care of Business in the Chase & at Homestead
The 2015 Kyle Busch was a different animal. In past Chase's Busch choked over and over again. The #18 team could always be counted out, but not this season. Over the 10-race stretch of the Chase Busch collected 1 win, 6 top-5's, and 7 top-10's. Busch struggled at times during the Chase, but took care of business in the most important round, the Eliminator 8. In this round where the field is cut from 8 to 4, Busch finished 5th, 4th, and 4th, giving him an average finish of 4.33. Busch took care of business through out the Chase continuing to transfer week after week. He avoided trouble unlike his teammates and competition. He carried this momentum into the final race of the season at Homestead. Busch was not satisfied with just making the final race, so he decided to run near the front all day. Busch didn't have the best car in the field, but clearly had the best car of the championship competitors. The #18 was in the top-3 all day long, and was able to take advantage of a late race caution to not only take home the checkard flag but the championship too. I was wrong about Busch in that he couldn't be 'clutch' enough to win a title in this format, and boy was I wrong. Congratulations to Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, and everyone involved with the #18 car, you guys are rightfully 2015 Cup champions!
Again, I want to congratulate Kyle Busch on winning the 2015 title! He had some bumps in the road but played the system and played it well! NASCAR stepped in and took responsibility for Busch's accident, and acknowledged that he should still have a chance to make the playoffs!! Thanks everyone for reading, hope you enjoyed!! Let me know what you think and remember to follow me on Twitter at @nascar_opinion! Also, have a great holiday season!!!