Kyle Busch Zeroes In on First NASCAR Sprint Cup Title

Love him or hate him, Kyle Busch is truly a tenacious, cagey, and exciting NASCAR racer, be it in a Sprint Cup or XFINITY stock car or even in the NASCAR Camping World Truck ride he pilots occasionally.

The 30-year-old Las Vegas, NV native has been the epicenter for some of the recent memorable moments of NASCAR, be it a Bristol race weekend sweep in August of 2010, his 2013 win at Watkins Glen, or even is absolute domination of the NASCAR XFINITY Series since ’13.  Winning seems to be in Busch’s vocabulary while anything short of that is disappointing.

Yes, he shows and voices is displeasure when he falls short of victory but that’s somewhat in the style of the old school racers.  Busch cannot be faulted for wearing his heart on his sleeves with this sport although it has sometimes landed him in some controversial situations.

Over the past five years, Busch has matured from a racer who was the resident “bad boy of NASCAR” into a meticulous, driven, fiery competitor.  He sometimes shows that flair which may irk his peers or the fans but he has learned to not let that deflate him or his focus towards excellence on the track.

Who knew that green would look awesome on the M&M's Camry?

Who knew that green would look awesome on the M&M’s Camry?

This year, Busch has shown his ability to overcome a truly devastating moment in his professional racing career.  It goes without saying how he was involved in a savage crash in the XFINITY Series season opener at Daytona.

Out for 11 races with a broken right leg and left foot, he underwent a vigorous rehabilitation in the late winter through May, determined to make it back as a stronger and better driver in his No. 18 Crispy M&M’s Toyota Camry ride from Joe Gibbs Racing.

While his initial races back showed some rust and acclimation with his office space, if you will, Sonoma, Kentucky, Loudon, and Indianapolis were like perfect performances by a conductor and symphony by Busch and crew chief Adam Stevens, with overtures that had stock car engine and the sounds of the epic burnouts rather than strings and timpani.

For a man who once enjoyed those victories simply for his accolades, winning this year’s championship would be a moment that this young racer would enjoy with his organization.

Kyle Busch pausing for a moment during the race weekend at Homestead.

Kyle Busch pausing for a moment during the race weekend at Homestead.

“This would be nothing special for a season for me to come back from my injury but also for everything that Joe Gibbs Racing means, and with J.D. being on board with winning the Brickyard 400 this year,” Busch said.  ‘That was really awesome to have him with us, to go do that and celebrate with him.  But I think this would be even greater by far.”

Joe Gibbs Racing, Busch’s home since 2008, has certainly flourished and benefited from this young man’s presence as not only an aggressive but highly talented wheelman, but also as an emerging leader in the garage area.  It wasn’t a sudden overnight change but rather a young man who’s growing comfortable with his role with his team and the sport that he’s an indelible part with for the long haul.

As NASCAR on NBC analyst Kyle Petty observed, Busch has learned to be a bit of a politician as well, a sign of maturity for a driver who’s certainly gone through life changes this year.  Naturally, he’ll support his teammates as any other racer would but he avoided making statements that’d draw the ire of officials.

In what’s been a common theme for the Championship 4 contenders, Busch has gone through a myriad of experiences to get to this point as a title contender.

Earlier this weekend, Busch summarized his journey from Daytona Speedweeks to this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a sense of gratitude and appreciation towards his team and his family in wife Samantha and his baby son Brexton.

Kyle Busch is absolutely all in for a title winning effort.

Kyle Busch is absolutely all in for a title winning effort.

“My life has sort of been that way.  It’s been quite a whirlwind.  But nothing like this year I guess I’d say.  It’s certainly been a lot going on in a short period of time from February to May, for sure.  But it’s been great.  I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.  I’ve got a great family.

I’m blessed with a great wife and a really cool son.  You know, I’ve looked forward to this opportunity here as my professional life to go out here and perform and do what we need to do to try to win a championship and have that be the first of hopefully many.”

This year, Busch has tallied four wins, 11 top-fives, and 15 top-10s in 24 starts.  Overcoming his injuries and the tremendous points deficit to make his way into The Chase field, perhaps one does not have to look further as to what fuels this cagey veteran and his thriving career.

“Yeah, I mean, Joe is a huge inspiration for me and for this race team and for everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing.  When Joe came back from coaching football and was walking through the shops, that was sort of my first couple years, and people just love the guy.

He stops and talks with them, or they pull him to the side and just tell him how greatest or whatever, but he’s just been so much fun to work around and have a relationship with, and I couldn’t think of a better place or a better guy to drive for.”

Rob Tiongson

30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field, and hockey. Born and raised in the Boston, MA area, racing was the first sport that caught my eye. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it’s about anything with an engine and four wheels, you’ll likely see an article on The Podium Finish by either myself or one of my talented columnists who absolutely have the motorsports passion.

Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. I enjoy editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography.

Graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

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