Like the NASCAR promo spot says, every hero needs a villain, every Hatfield needs a McCoy. By now, even the critics are missing colorful Kyle Busch. The younger half of the most infamous brothers since Frank and Jesse James has been recovering from nasty leg and foot injuries sustained while racing in the Xfinity Series at Daytona on opening weekend, missing out on the first 11 races of 2015. He’s been given the green light to resume racing, and he’ll be in action on All-Star weekend in Charlotte. NASCAR has offered the soon-to-be first-time father a path to the playoffs, and we’re saying here that he will make it.
NASCAR is granting Busch a medical exemption for the races he missed. After all, left’s face it, the spirit of the law on that rule is to keep the part-timers out of the championship picture who may capitalize on the “win and you’re win” proviso. This isn’t a stretch; anyone who’s watched more than two races knows that Kyle Busch would have been there if he could have. All he has to do is make the top 30 in points and win a race.
Does anyone doubt he can? I don’t.
For those of you needing details, Jayski has an entry (click here) spelling out how a driver who has yet to score a point in 2015 can get there with only 15 races to work with. At the end of the day, this piece says Kyle Busch will need to roughly average a finish of 15th to make it. Since his first full season in 2005, he has only failed to be better than that twice- his rookie year, and ahem, last season. He didn’t miss by much though in a season that was not kind to Joe Gibbs Racing.
Look who’s in the 30. Among the usual suspects are names like Justin Allgaier, David Ragan, David Gilliland, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and a certain polarizing driver of the female persuasion. What we’re talking about here is a collection of journeymen racing for teams tight on funding to be competitive, some youngsters still wet behind the ears, as well as a collection of “has beens” and “never weres.” Just his equipment gives him an edge, even if JGR appears to be a bit behind some of the biggest dogs, they’ve had their days where they’ve run with the likes of Hendrick, Stewart-Haas and Penske. Teammates Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin have had more than their share of moments; heck, both have wins. Though Carl Edwards is scuffling a bit in his maiden voyage at JGR, but you’ve got to think he’ll mak it happen sooner or later.
Sure, Kyle Busch will need a win. Hello? Let’s remember who we’re talking about here. Setting aside all he’s done in the Xfinity and the Camping World Truck Series, Busch has 29 Sprint Cup wins. Since he started driving full time, he has never failed to finish the season without a win. Coming up are 15 “regular season” races with a number of excellent opportunities- including Charlotte and Richmond.
It may take a little good fortune, but quality drivers with quality rides have a way of making their own luck. Kyle Busch will be there. Typically, yours truly isn’t a fan per se, but Busch making a chase run wuld be a great comeback story. Love him or loathe him, Kyle Busch is one of the best in the business and the series is better when he’s in it.