Busch overshadowed, not overmatched in repeat Chase bid
Kyle Busch is hardly the people’s choice.
His championship run last year was overshadowed by Jeff Gordon’s farewell. His quest to repeat probably ranks behind Tony Stewart’s retirement and Jimmie Johnson’s shot at making history.
He’s overlooked but far from overmatched. Busch might even be the man to beat in the NASCAR finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday.
“I think winning the championship last year definitely impacted us,” Busch said. “It just gave us a greater sense of belief in ourselves and our team and confidence in being able to go out there and do it again. You know, there’s no reason to think that what we accomplished last year is a one-time thing.
“We feel we’re just as good last year if not better and performed better throughout this Chase in order to get ourselves in the position we’re in. There are plenty of reasons as to why we can be beat and plenty of reasons as to why we can beat the rest of them.”
Busch’s championship run last year was something befitting a Hollywood script. He missed the first 11 races of the season after breaking his leg and foot in a hard crash at Daytona International Speedway.
He transitioned from comeback kid to championship contender after winning four of five races during a summer hot streak. With a new son, a supportive wife and a newfound maturity, Busch looked like a changed man.
He won the finale at Homestead and gave Toyota its first Sprint Cup championship.
Now, he’s looking to make it two in a row. Standing in his way are Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards, Joey Logano and Johnson, who can tie the NASCAR record held by Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt.
“I certainly think that it’s different from last year for sure,” Busch said. “Last year, I was just a part-time champion, so this year I hope to become a full-time champion.”
He won’t get any help from Edwards.
Team owner Joe Gibbs said Friday that Busch and Edwards will be on their own during practice and once the green flag drops.
“To be quite truthful, both of them want this in the worst way and they’re going to compete,” Gibbs said. “They’re not sharing a lot of stuff. It’s going to be up to them individually. ... We kind of felt like obviously they’re going to be kind of individually going for it. They’ll both kind of be on their own here.”