Oh my goodness, Ethyl, NASCAR is going to Hell in a hand basket ‘cuz one of them Toyoder drivers stole the championship. And what’s with a guy missing 11 races and still being able to race for the championship, anyway? That’s downright un-American. That Kyle Busch feller ain’t got no right to be a champion in my sport. He’s a arrogant smartass and he wins too much. That just ain’t right.
As I sit here typing this column, I already have a mental image of the words soon to be posted underneath it, as you, the rabid NASCAR-haters, rip me apart for telling to truth about the storybook-ending to Busch’s 2015 season. But you know what? I don’t care. This weekend isn’t about you, it’s about someone doing something spectacular.
No, it’s not the storybook ending most fans wanted to see and I can understand that; however, Busch is just as deserving of the title as Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick or Martin Truex Jr. would have been – if they had scored the win in the final race of the season.
The feel-good story would have been Gordon getting an unprecedented walk-off championship. Technically, it’s never been done in NASCAR. And had he won, I would be just as happy for him as I am for Busch. Despite the accusations, neither driver is “my favorite.” I like all drivers, well, almost all of them.
In some ways, Busch’s win is even more impressive than had any of the other drivers done it. Overcoming a broken leg, a broken foot and getting back behind the wheel of a racecar in three months is pretty amazing. Then he has to go out and win the enough races to make himself eligible for the Chase.
Considering he had zero points and wasn’t even listed on the driver standings report from NASCAR after the first race at Kansas Speedway, getting into the top 30 and being eligible was no small undertaking. The guy had to re-learn how to walk and he had to re-train his muscles to help him maneuver the car. I’m willing to post some pretty long odds that none of you reading this column could do what he did.
As for him being granted a waiver, it was the right thing to do. The idea that drivers had to attempt all races was not to penalize someone for getting hurt, it was done so road-course aces didn’t come in for a one-off deal and get a win that made them eligible to run for the championship. Had Busch not been injured, he would have run every race and the waiver would not have even been an issue.
Richard Petty didn’t run every single race of every single season to win each of his championships. So, why is social media blowing up that this is one of the worst thing to ever happen to the sport? And, yes, I know someone will probably go look up the stats on Petty. Don’t bother, I already did. It is also a known fact that many drivers back then cherry-picked the best-paying races rather than worrying about an entire series.
So, for once, try to look at the overall picture and not get bogged down in a dislike for Busch or the fact that he drives a Toyota or that he missed races because he got hurt. His championship run this year was legendary and something that will probably never happen again. It’s hard enough to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship when a driver is healthy. This accomplishment should have been impossible but Busch pulled off a miracle.
Congratulations, Kyle, you earned it.
And for the record, Ethyl is a fictitious character and not an identifier of any narrow-minded person’s family member.