Add Kyle Busch to the list of drivers locked in to the 2015 Chase field.
After missing 11 races following injuries sustained in the XFINITY Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway, the driver of the No. 18 Toyota returned at Charlotte, with a blessing from NASCAR to win and get himself into the top 30 to be involved in the Chase.
And win is just what Busch did. Though he crashed out of two of the four races following his return, Busch notched four victories in the next five events from Sonoma through Indianapolis, all while flirting with that line between 30th and 31st. But a seventh-place run in Sunday night’s Southern 500 was enough to give the 30-year-old an 83 point cushion on 31st and lock him into the Chase field.
“Making the Chase was something we weren’t all sure was possible after my injuries. It’s a great opportunity to be with these guys on this M&M’S Crispy team,” Busch said after the checkered flag flew Sunday night. “They’re working really hard at Joe Gibbs Racing – we’ve got a lot of speed and I think all four cars have a really good shot at this championship. I had my hands full tonight. I think I just got a little behind on what our adjustments needed to be for the race, but our whole team just really turned this thing around and it turned out to be a solid finish for us.”
The Sprint Cup Series will run its final regular season race at Richmond International Raceway Saturday night to set the remainder of the 16-driver Chase field.