098_Anthem Annual 2016 Feb Edition.p1

2016 Anthem Annual Feb Web PDF

Don’t Stop Believing Kyle Busch Caps Roller-Coaster In order to be crowned champion, one must overcome obstacles along the way. And, there is usually a turning point during the season. Those were both the case for Kyle Busch, the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. In February, Busch was injured during the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway, and that kept him out of his race car until May — he returned for the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. While he did return to competition only a few months after the incident at Daytona, Busch feared that the injury could have been much worse. “I didn’t know if I was ever going to be able to get back in a car again,” Busch said. “I just didn’t know how severe it was. But, fortunately for me, it wasn’t that bad. I was able to pull it all back together and be here today.” Recovering from those injuries could be considered his “turning point,” but what he did during the next two months shaped his season. NASCAR announced that Busch would be able to compete for the championship in 2015, as long as he won a race and was in the top 30 in points after the cutoff race at Richmond International Raceway in September. Season with Championship That meant he only had 15 races to make up a lot of ground in the standings. And, after four races, his chances looked grim. He did have two fi nishes inside the top-11, but also fi nished 36th (Dover International Speedway) and 43rd (Michigan International Speedway) in that span. However, Busch and the No. 18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota team then went on one of the greatest fi ve-race stretches in recent memory. Busch started it by securing his fi rst victory at Sonoma Raceway in June, setting him up with a return to Daytona. He fi nished 17th in that race. When the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series arrived at Kentucky Speedway, nobody knew what Busch was about to accomplish. He led 163 laps to claim his second victory in three races. He followed that with a victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, putting him even closer to the top 30. And, one week later at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, he became the fi rst driver to win three consecutive races since Jimmie Johnson did it in 2007 (he won four in a row) — Busch was the fi rst non-Hendrick Motorsports driver to accomplish the feat since Rusty Wallace did it in 1994. “We’re a championship contending team,” Busch said. “We just have to be championship eligible. Thank the good Lord for bringing me back PHOTOS GETTY IMAGES Kyle Busch celebrated after winning his fi rst NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. 98 ANTHEM MOTORSPORTS ANNUAL


2016 Anthem Annual Feb Web PDF
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