That’s how Kyle Busch has been referred to since winning this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, but that term could be considered a serious understatement.
In February, Busch was involved in a crash during the NASCAR XFINITY Series race in Daytona that broke his right leg and left foot. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was forced to sit on the sidelines and miss 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races to undergo rehab to learn how to walk again.
At the time, Busch didn’t know if he would ever race again, let alone qualify for NASCAR’s post season Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field.
“I don’t know that anybody could have ever dreamt of this year,” said Busch. “As bad as it was, I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking to achieve a championship, it’s certainly not easy, but it’ll make you mentally and physically stronger.”
In May, NASCAR announced Busch would remain eligible to compete for the championship if he won at least one race and remained inside the top 30 of the championship point standings.
He returned to competition on May 16 at least two months before anyone thought he would realistically be back behind the wheel. He finished sixth, and went on a hot streak - winning four races during June and July. Busch broke into the top 30 in the standings Aug. 9, after a second-place finish at Watkins Glen.
He stayed consistent throughout the 10 Chase races, earning six top-five and eight top-10 finishes, including a fifth-place finish in the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway (plus, he won the Kansas Lottery 300 for the second consecutive year).
In the season finale at Homestead, Busch led 41 of 267 laps and held off fellow championship contender Kevin Harvick to go to Victory Lane and earn his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.
The first championship is likely to not be the last, at age 30, Busch is just getting started and should have an even more successful career ahead of him.
NASCAR will return for two exciting weekends at Kansas Speedway in 2016. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota Tundra 250 under the lights on Friday, May 6, 2016 with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kansas 400 under the lights on Saturday May 7, 2016 and the fifth race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Hollywood Casino 400 on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2016 with the NASCAR XFINITY Series Kansas Lottery 300 on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2016.