Kyle Busch had been on a winless streak since June, so it might be forgiven if he wasn’t considered a favorite heading into the final race of the season.
But race fans should never count Busch out, especially when it comes to his competitive spirit.
Busch crossed the finish line four seconds ahead of teammate Martin Truex Jr. to win the final race of the season and clinch his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.
“We have a great race team and a great owner,” said Busch, who was emotional climbing from his car. “Everybody always says you never give up and we’re no different. Sometimes we may not be the best, sometimes we may not have the right track position. Today we had a really good car and I could race around and move around.”
Busch is the 16th driver to win more than one NASCAR Cup Series championship, and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is the only other active driver with multiple titles.
The season for the Joe Gibbs Racing team wasn’t without tragedy, though, as Joe Gibbs' son, J.D., passed away in January after complications from a long battle with a degenerative neurological disease.
“It’s been a difficult time,” said Busch. “To be able to reward them with a championship, I don’t know how much it means to them, but it’s the best I can do. I know JD was looking down on us all season long.”
NASCAR racing returns to the track on February 16 for the Daytona 500.