NASCAR has granted Kyle Busch a waiver to make the Chase via winning a race even though he missed the first 11 races of the season due to injury. Many NASCAR fans are up in arms about this and cannot fathom the possibility that Busch could make the Chase and potentially win a championship after missing so many races.
NASCAR instituted the new Chase format to emphasize wining and to allow drivers a way to make the Chase even though they may miss a number of races due to unmentioned circumstances. Denny Hamlin made the Chase last year even though he missed a race. It appears the Kyle Busch’s brother Kurt Busch will make the Chase this year even though he missed the first three races of the season. Tony Stewart was granted a waiver but failed to win a race. What makes Kyle’s circumstances any different?
The Purists already dislike the Chase. They still like the championship the way it was, a whole season of racing and the driver who has the most points wins. That style led to many races at the end of the season where the points leader was simply racing for points not to win the race. Many Championships were sown up before the last race of the year. Sorry but that left in 2003 and is not coming back.
The original Chase for the Sprint Cup helped but many seasons the last race of the year was watching the points leader race himself for 15th or some other low number and not the win. But then we had Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart race for the win and the championship at the last race of the season. That is what this new Chase is all about.
So what if Kyle Busch does win a race and makes the Chase? Well for one he would have to step in the car and perform up to his ability right away after a pretty severe injury. He still has to be in the top 30 in points. According to NBCSports he would have to have an average finish of 15th in order to get into the top 30 in points. Since his average finish for the next 15 races is 13.8 that is certainly doable. But remember, he was severely injured, the odds of him being on his typical game is not good. He is Kyle Busch though.
Let’s assume he does it. He wins a race, gets into the top 30 in points and makes the Chase. That would be a great feat and make for a great story. History has shown that having an average finish of 13th doesn’t make you instantly superman to win a Championship.
Consider that Kyle Busch does come on strong at the end. Wins a race or two and gets many top five finishes to stay in each round of the Chase. He then wins at Homestead Miami Speedway to win the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. I can’t find any reason why one would put an asterisk next to his name on the Cup. He would have fought hard against adversity and raced hard which is everything that one would want from a Champion.
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