NASCAR Cup Series
Throwback Thursday: Kyle Busch kick-starts championship run at Sonoma
NASCAR Cup Series

Throwback Thursday: Kyle Busch kick-starts championship run at Sonoma

Published Jun. 16, 2016 11:03 a.m. ET

For this week's Throwback Thursday, we don't have to go back too far at all -- just a little more than a year.

The picturesque Sonoma Raceway road course hosts next weekend's Toyota/Save Mart 350, and it was at this race last year where Kyle Busch began his remarkable run to his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

Busch missed the first 11 races of the 2015 Sprint Cup season after suffering gruesome leg and foot injuries in the first XFINITIY Series race of the year at Daytona.

But at Sonoma, Busch used strategy and some well-time caution flags to take a late-race lead and drive on to victory.


Busch pitted under the final caution flag with 11 laps to go, restarted seventh and then passed leader Jimmie Johnson with five laps to go to win his first race of the season and his first in 46 races, dating back to Auto Club Speedway in 2014.

Kyle's older brother Kurt finished second, marking the first time the brothers had finished 1-2 in a Cup race. As you would expect, it was an emotional victory for Kyle.

"Walking in (to Victory Lane) on a broken leg and a broken foot, there's nothing better than that," said Busch. 

"Now having a win, you know, obviously I think that that treats us a little bit better," Busch said when asked about his odds of making the Chase. 

"We don't have to race as hard for a win. We don't have to put ourselves in a bad spot when we're running third, fourth or fifth to try to get that victory. We can run third, fourth or fifth and that's a good day for us; that'll be just fine."

Little did Busch or anyone else know at the time that the Sonoma victory would be the first of four in a five-race stretch for Busch, or that he go on to win the title.

But Sonoma was where the championship run began and it's where Busch will try to repeat on June 26th.


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