Defending NASCAR Champion Kyle Busch did something no one has ever done before: He took the pole and won the race in both the Xfinity race on Saturday and the Sprint Cup race on Sunday. This is just another example of Busch’s continued domination since he returned in week 11 last season after a horrific crash in Daytona delayed the start of his 2015 season. His comeback started just over a year ago with a victory at Sonoma in Week 16. He quickly showed that he was not messing around, winning 3 of the next 4 races and very quickly qualifying for the Chase. Over the course of his first two months back, he not only won 4 out of 5 races, but he won over fans that he never had. Countless numbers of callers to NASCAR Radio on Sirius/XM could be heard saying, “I never liked Kyle, but after watching what he’s done this month, I have to reconsider”, or “I always thought Kyle was a jerk, but his attitude since his return has really changed my mind about him”.
With his comeback he also has seemed to bring back with him a whole new attitude. A whole new respect for the sport and for his fellow competitors that he never seemed to have before. Some think it’s his new son, Brexton, that brought about this new maturity. Some think it might be that he had the opportunity to sit back and take 11 weeks of reflection on his career and life and maybe decide what kind of person he wants to be. Whatever it was, there is little doubt that he came back from this injury a different person.
Busch has always been good. Some years he has certainly been better than others. In 2007, he only had one win, but 11 Top 5 finishes and 20 Top Ten finishes. However, he only led a total of 637 laps, and nearly half of those were in Fort Worth (153), Martinsville (106), and Fontana (97). The very next season Busch won a total of 8 races with 17 Top 5 finishes and 21 Top 10 finishes. He led a ridiculous total of 1673 laps out of 10,312 total laps ran (16.2%), which was a career high for him.
Jump ahead to 2013 and Kyle had another very good year. This time he won 4 times while finishing in the Top 5 16 times and completing in the Top 10 22 times. He led 1227 laps that season.
Last season he came back after a mediocre 2014 where he only earned one win. But last season he had something to prove, to himself and to his fans, and to everyone else. And he certainly proved it to everyone. He finished the season with an amazing 5 wins, 12 Top 5 finishes, and 16 Top 10 finishes, in only 25 races, ending the season by winning the NASCAR Championship. So far in the 2016 season, Kyle Busch has showed no signs of slowing down or resting on his laurels. In the first 20 races this season, he has 4 wins, (tied with Brad Kesolowski for the most so far), 11 Top 5 finishes, 3 more than the next guy, Kevin Harvick, and is tied for 3rd in Top Ten finishes with Joey Logano with 13 behind leader Harvick (16) and brother Kurt (15). He is also 2nd in laps led with 982 to Martin Truex Jr, but only by 7 measly laps. Harvick, who is in 3rd in this category, is 153 laps behind him.
Last weekend in Indy, not only did he set a record by taking both poles and winning both races, he was clearly untouchable on Sunday as he completely dominated that race. He blasted out of each restart like his car was possessed, and took control of the race at each and every restart. By the end of the race he had led all but 21 laps of the entire race. That, my friends, is some serious domination.
With six races to go until we reach the Chase, and 15 races to go until we reach Homestead for the Championship, Kyle Busch is looking like he is very hungry to defend his title and quiet what few critics he might have left.
Neil S. Velleman is a long time staff writer for TMRZoo who has been with us since 2008. After taking several years off to pursue other interests, we welcome him back. He has written several different areas of interest for TMRZoo, including Baseball Commentary and Review, TV Recaps, Book Reviews, Music Reviews, and Hotel and Restaurant Reviews. We welcome his unique voice and opinions as we dip our toes into the world of NASCAR for the first time.