Busch missed the first 11 races of the season recovering from his injuries.
He chased down Jimmie Johnson to win Sunday at Sonoma Raceway for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in 35 races.
Two yellow flags on lap 74 and lap 78 left all drivers good to go the remaining distance without additional trips to pit road.
With the win, Busch gained two positions in the standings to 37th, 136 points behind 30th-place Cole Whit with 10 races left in the regular season.
He also gave JTG Daugherty Racing its maiden pole since the organization began competing in Sprint Cup. “I can not say enough about my medical team, everyone who got me back in shape and back on the race track“.
“We grew up racing on ovals, but to do that here on a road course, I think that’s just a true testament to our father and everything he’s done for us over the years to get us to the point which we’re at”, Kyle said.
The series returns to Daytona global Speedway this coming weekend with Sunday night’s Coke Zero 400. “I couldn’t let him (Johnson) hold me up”.
“So we’ve got some improving to do. Of course, more wins would certainly help us, and that would only help our cause and allow us to get to the top-30 quicker, but we have to take it in moderation here and be smart about it”.
In the first-ever 1-2 finish in the series by the Busch brothers, Kyle Busch beat Kurt Busch to the finish line by. Busch’s older brother, Kurt Busch, came in second and Clint Bowyer came in third. I know this will be no easy task, considering he would still have to average an 11th place finish, but I still would not be surprised to see this happen. “He’s an incredible driver”.
In any other year, Kyle Busch would have been one of the favorites at Sonoma Raceway. He was 39th in points after that race.
Johnson, who didn’t pit during the final caution, was a sitting duck for drivers on new tires.
Kurt Busch led a race-high 43 laps but spent too much time getting past Bowyer in the closing laps to have a realistic chance to catch his brother. The strategy may have worked on one of NASCAR’s ovals, but on the winding road course at Sonoma, Busch’s fresh tires proved paramount. It’s the first of this season’s two road courses and comes after a week off. It’s the 16th race of the season, and promises to be exciting after all teams and drivers have taken a week to determine their strategy going forward.
If Allmendinger is able to stay out front through the early laps he could just run away from the competition.
If he wins the championship, will it taint the season or add to Busch’s legacy?
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was seventh and followed by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, while Ryan Newman and Sam Hornish Jr. rounded out the top 10.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon will make his final career start at Sonoma.
“We’re just trying to go out and perform the best we can every weekend”, Gordon said. “I saw (Busch), and I was like, ‘Wait, wait, wait, do not go yet.’ I was afraid (Johnson) would try to jerk it (down pit road)”.
Allmendinger needs it: He comes into Sonoma in a four-race slump with finishes between 23rd and 29th since the Coca-Cola 600 in May.
Carl Edwards, who won at Sonoma one year ago, was involved in a late-race accident with David Ragan and wound up finishing 40th.