By: Caroline Ashcraft, University of Miami
MIAMI – After missing the first 11 races of the season to a broken leg and broken foot from a crash in Daytona, Kyle Busch was the definition of the comeback kid at Homestead-Miami Speedway, winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday night to take home the 2015 Sprint Cup Championship, the first of his career.
It’s been a phenomenal weekend for 30-year-old Busch. As owner of Kyle Busch Motorsports, he had driver Erik Jones win the Camping Truck Series Championship Friday night as he took home his third consecutive owner championship in that series.
It was Sunday night, however, when Busch joined his older brother, Kurt, as a champion in the Sprint Cup Series. Although he only led 41 laps to runner-up Kevin Harvick’s 46, Busch was able to pull 1.553 seconds ahead to clinch the championship after a yellow flag appeared with seven laps to go, allowing him to move ahead of Brad Keselowski, who led a race-high 86 laps.
“I think I just got a really good restart,” said Busch. “I held it to the floor and gave it everything I had for the last seven or eight laps and drive away.”
Busch joins Harvick, Bobby Labonte and Brad Keselowski as only the fourth driver all-time to boast both a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and a NASCAR Xfinity Cup Series championship.
Busch finished the 2015 season with five wins, 12 top-fives, 16 top-10s and one pole.
“This championship is for all these guys,” said Busch. “My wife, my family and everyone else who sacrificed so much for me to be here, whether teammates now or in the past.”
“To all the Kyle Busch fans out there, I thank you so much,” said the number 18 driver. “You guys are awesome.”
How does the number 18 driver feel about coming back from an early season injury, physical therapy, missing 11 races and balancing a newborn son to win the championship?
“This is a dream come true.”