By Ben White
Despite missing 11 races due to leg injuries suffered in the season-opening NASCAR Xfinity Series race, Kyle Buch advanced through the Cup Series playoffs and claimed his first premier series title by winning the season finale.
The younger of the racing Busch brothers grew up in Las Vegas where he won more than 65 Legend Car races and two track titles before graduating to Late Model competition. At the age of 16, Busch began competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, driving for Roush Racing.
He made his Cup Series debut in 2004 with team owner Rick Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports. At the time, Busch was tabbed by many industry insiders as NASCAR’s next superstar. However, of his six starts that year, all were superspeedway events and all produced finishes outside the top 25.
The next season, Busch won both Cup Series races at Auto Club Speedway. All told through 2007, he claimed four wins with the Hendrick organization
Busch joined Joe Gibbs Racing in 2008 and began a long tenure of success, winning 25 Cup Series races leading up to the 2015 season.
After being sidelined for the first 11 races of 2015, Busch rebounded to score four victories in the regular season.
During the final race of the Chase at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Denny Hamlin started on the pole, while Busch lined up third, Jeff Gordon fifth, Martin Truex Jr. 11th, and Kevin Harvick 13th.
Busch led the other championship contenders as Brad Keselowski dominated the lap count. A debris caution late in the race shuffled the running order, giving Busch the lead. Busch held off Harvick to win both the race and the championship.
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Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, won six races and had 28 top-10 finishes. Logano’s triumph in the Daytona 500 started the year, and he followed it with victories at Watkins Glen, Bristol, Charlotte, Kansas and Talladega during the second half of the schedule. His average start of 6.9 and average finish of 9.2 set the stage for a respectable season, but four finishes outside the top 35 derailed his title hopes.
The Southern 500 at legendary Darlington Raceway featured a record 18 caution flags along with several outstanding arguments over racing real estate. Carl Edwards came back from two laps down to battle Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick for the lead. After a late caution, Edwards got the lead on pit road and went on to win his second race of the season. It was Edwards’ only victory at the 1.336-mile track.
Kyle Busch, driving the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, won five times and had 16 top-10 finishes in 25 starts.
Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet recorded 28 top-10 finishes, including three Cup Series wins in 36 races.
2015 Season Recap
DATE | LOCATION | WINNER
Feb. 22 | Daytona International Speedway | Joey Logano
March 1 | Atlanta Motor Speedway | Jimmie Johnson
March 8 | Las Vegas Motor Speedway | Kevin Harvick
March 15 | Phoenix Raceway | Kevin Harvick
March 22 | Auto Club Speedway | Brad Keselowski
March 29 | Martinsville Speedway | Denny Hamlin
April 11 | Texas Motor Speedway | Jimmie Johnson
April 19 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Matt Kenseth
April 26 | Richmond Raceway | Kurt Busch
May 3 | Talladega Superspeedway | Dale Earnhardt Jr.
May 9 | Kansas Speedway | Jimmie Johnson
May 24 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Carl Edwards
May 31 | Dover Motor Speedway | Jimmie Johnson
June 7 | Pocono Raceway | Martin Truex Jr.
June 14 | Michigan International Speedway | Kurt Busch
June 28 | Sonoma Raceway | Kyle Busch
July 5 | Daytona International Speedway | Dale Earnhardt Jr.
July 11 | Kentucky Speedway | Kyle Busch
July 19 | New Hampshire Motor Speedway | Kyle Busch
July 26 | Indianapolis Motor Speedway | Kyle Busch
Aug. 2 | Pocono Raceway | Matt Kenseth
Aug. 9 | Watkins Glen International | Joey Logano
Aug. 16 | Michigan International Speedway | Matt Kenseth
Aug. 22 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Joey Logano
Sept. 6 | Darlington Raceway | Carl Edwards
Sept. 12 | Richmond Raceway | Matt Kenseth
Sept. 20 | Chicagoland Speedway | Denny Hamlin
Sept. 27 | New Hampshire Motor Speedway | Matt Kenseth
Oct. 4 | Dover Motor Speedway | Kevin Harvick
Oct. 11 | Charlotte Motor Speedway | Joey Logano
Oct. 18 | Kansas Speedway | Joey Logano
Oct. 25 | Talladega Superspeedway | Joey Logano
Nov. 1 | Martinsville Speedway | Jeff Gordon
Nov. 8 | Texas Motor Speedway | Jimmie Johnson
Nov. 15 | Phoenix Raceway | Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Nov. 22 | Homestead-Miami Speedway | Kyle Busch