Crash that broke his leg and foot, journey back to racing SHOP: Busch gear Nov. 22: Busch wins first Sprint Cup Series championship In a season fit for the silver screen, Kyle Busch completes his emotional comeback from a devastating season-opening injury to capture his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. " Read the full story " Final 2015 standings Nov. 22: Busch wins title with victory at Homestead-Miami Driver Kyle Busch caps an amazing comeback, winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 to hold off fellow Championship 4 contenders Kevin Harvick , Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr . " Read the full story " Complete race results Aug. 9: Busch breaks into top 30 in drivers points standings A runner-up finish at Watkins Glen pushed Kyle Busch into 30th place in the Sprint Cup points standings, a requirement of eligibility for him for the Chase. With four race wins under his belt, he must remain in the top 30 to make the Chase. " Read the full story " Full race results July 11: Kyle Busch wins Sprint Cup race at Kentucky A second win helps Kyle Busch 's chances of cracking the top 30 in points, the second condition he must meet to make the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup . " Read the full story " Full race results June 28: Kyle Busch wins Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Needing victory to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup , Kyle Busch got the victory at Sonoma , a track that had been a concern as he continues to recover because the road course is so physically demanding. " Read the full story " Full race results June 13: Kyle Busch wins XFINITY race at Michigan Kyle Busch goes to Victory Lane in his first race back in the XFINITY Series after breaking his leg and left foot at Daytona. " Read the full story " Full race results May 24: Kyle Busch completes Coca-Cola 600 , finishes 11th Kyle Busch makes his Sprint Cup points race debut for the season in the Coca-Cola 600 , climbing to second place before fuel strategy led to an 11th-place finish. " Read the full story May 18: Kyle, Samantha Busch welcome first baby Driver Kyle Busch and his wife, Samantha, had their first child, a boy, at 9:45 p.m. May 18. Brexton Locke Busch is his name. " Read the full story May 16: Busch finishes sixth in All-Star race After a pleasing top-10 run in his first race back from leg and foot injuries, Kyle Busch looks forward to running in the Coca-Cola 600 " Read the full story May 13: Kyle Busch granted Chase waiver NASCAR has granted Kyle Busch a waiver for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Find out what he has to do to make the Chase. " Read the full story " Official NASCAR release " Cain: Making Chase will cap comeback May 12: Kyle Busch announces return After missing 11 events to open the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season following his injury at Daytona, Kyle Busch has set his return for the Sprint All-Star Race on May 16. " Read the full story " Drivers react to news of Busch's return " Herman Unplugged: Reaction to Busch's return " Busch's return a hot topic at Dover test May 9: Jones' promising run crashes at Kansas Making his first Sprint Cup start filling in for the injured Kyle Busch , Erik Jones was working on a great run at Kansas until he found the wall late in the race. " Read the full story April 16: Accident leads Busch to become unexpected safety advocate NASCAR.com's Holly Cain tells the story of how Kyle Busch 's wreck at Daytona has changed the Joe Gibbs Racing driver into a saftey advocate for the sport. Busch talks about how impressed he was of the breadth and depth of detailed information that has been gathered from his accident. " Read the full story April 16: Busch family bonds, finds strength in recovery With a baby on the way, the Busch family discuss how they've worked as a team to recover from Kyle's injury while prepping to expand their family. The parents-to-be explain that it hasn't been easy, but they're counting their blessings. " Read the full story April 15: Kyle Busch analyzes tape of his wreck Kyle Busch holds his first press conference after his crash at Daytona and uses video to break down his thought process as the wreck unfolded. His doctors are pleased with his progress, but he has no timeline for returning to driving. " Read the full story " Herman Unplugged: Busch should sit out 2015 April 15: Kyle Busch responds to Keselowski blog During his first press conference after his Daytona crash, Kyle Busch also addressed his long-running feud with fellow Sprint Cup driver Brad Keselowski . " Watch the video " More on Keselowski's blog April 15: Kyle Busch , wife discuss crash, impending parenthood In an interview with Charlotte NBC affiliate WCNC, Kyle Busch and his wife Samantha discussed the driver's accident at Daytona in February " Read the full story March 20: Kyle Busch takes next step in recovery Kyle Busch posts a video on Facebook of himself moving around a bit with the aid of a walker, along with encouragement from his wife, Samantha, and their dog. " Read the full story March 17: KBM drivers keep in touch Daniel Suarez says his team owner's advice is invaluable. And Justin Boston reports Busch is 'recovering quickly.' " Read the full story March 14: Kurt Busch hopes brother doesn't rush return Kurt Busch says, 'You can't rush the healing of bones and surgeries.' And teammate Denny Hamlin says Kyle Busch is staying engaged with the No. 18 team despite being sidelined. " Read the full story March 11: Kyle Busch , Samantha, visit KBM Kyle Busch and his wife, Samantha, take a field trip to Kyle Busch Motorsports and tell the team, 'Progress is going well.' " Read the full story March 10: Busch gets walking boots Kyle Busch gets soft casts removed from both legs and moves up to walking boots, which Samantha Busch dubs 'Terminator boots' in a Twitter photo. " Read the full story March 2: Subs announced for No. 54 XFINITY Toyota Denny Hamlin , Erik Jones and Boris Said are tapped as substitute drivers for Kyle Busch in the No. 54 NASCAR XFINITY Series Toyota. "Get Well Kyle" stickers adorn the No. 54. " Read the full story Feb. 27: Kyle Busch heads home after second surgery After a second surgery to treat his injuries, Kyle Busch was in a Charlotte hospital for observation for two days before being cleared to go home. The No. 18 racing team put a "Get well Kyle" on the rear bumper of the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for the Atlanta race. " Read the full story Feb. 25: Kyle Busch has successful surgery on left foot Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Kyle Busch underwent a successful surgery on his left foot at a Charlotte hospital. " Read the full story Feb. 24: Kyle Busch leaves Florida hospital Kyle Busch was released from Halifax Health Medical Center. He boarded a plane on a stretcher and was transferred to a North Carolina hospital for further treatment of multiple leg injuries. " Read the full story Feb. 24: David Ragan to sub for Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing announces that David Ragan will sub for the injured Kyle Busch in the No. 18 Toyota for several weeks, starting at Atlanta Motor Speedway . " Read the full story Feb. 24: ISC working on 'significant plan' for safer barriers In the wake of Kyle Busch 's severe crash and resulting injuries during the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway , International Speedway Corporation announces a plan to expand its use of impact-diffusing barriers at its 12 tracks. " Read the full story Feb. 22: Joe Gibbs says Busch's surgery went well Team owner Joe Gibbs gives an update on Kyle Busch 's status after surgery and says he is 'resting comfortably.' Doctors reported that things went well with surgery on Busch's lower right leg. " Read the full story Feb. 22: Samantha Busch gives update from hospital Samantha Busch posts a selfie with Kyle Busch from his hospital bed on Twitter with a tweet saying, "Getting ready to watch the Daytona 500 ! Cheering on our 18 boys!" " Read the full story Feb. 21: Drivers wish Kyle Busch well after hard hit Kyle Busch is taken to the hospital by ambulance after a big wreck during the XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway . Fellow drivers sent well-wishes via Twitter. " Read the full story Feb. 21: Hard hit sidelines Kyle Busch for Daytona 500 A crash in the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race caused NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch to miss the Daytona 500 after suffering injuries to his right leg and left foot a day before the Great American Race at Daytona International Speedway . " Read the full story
Contact on pit road between Ty Dillon and David Mayhew cuts down the left-front tire on the No. 3, sending him to pit road for repairs.
RELATED: Full race results " Race recap SHOP: Champion gear In a season fit for the silver screen, Kyle Busch completed his emotional comeback from a devastating season-opening injury to capture his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. Busch took home the 2015 championship by being the top finisher among the Championship 4 drivers, which also included Kevin Harvick , Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr ., in the Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch led 41 laps on the day and the last seven of the 267-lap event for his first career postseason win as a member of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field. "Rowdy" spent much of the race running in the top two and took the lead from Brad Keselowski for good shortly after the Lap 261 restart. Busch then distanced himself from Harvick, the series' 2014 champion, who finished as the runner-up in the race and final standings. Gordon finished sixth in his final race, while Truex finished 12th. "This is just so unbelievable, so amazing and means so much right here, right now and probably will for a long, long time to come," Busch said on the championship stage at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "The opportunity that the amount of people that have poured their life and soul into everything that Kyle Busch does and is about -- from M&M's to Toyota to Snickers and Twix and Skittles, Joe Gibbs (team owner) and his family and all of Joe Gibbs Racing , everyone that gave me such a fast race car here tonight to drive. It was so much fun. "This is just a dream come true and my family, my wife, my son -- to have him this year and to have everything we've gone through this year to be in this moment -- I don't know what else to say, but this is so special." The title makes the Busch brothers -- Kurt won the 2004 championship -- the second pair of brothers in NASCAR to win premier series championships. The Labonte brothers also have accomplished that with Terry winning titles in 1984 and 1996 and Bobby winning in 2000. RELATED: See all the premier series champions The 2015 season started off in a frightening fashion for Busch. A crash in the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway left him with a broken right leg and a broken left foot. Busch missed the first 11 points races of the season before returning in the middle of May for the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Matt Crafton , David Ragan and Erik Jones each took turns behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing . NASCAR granted Busch a waiver to make the Chase provided he was able to win a race and crack the top 30 in points before the end of the 26-race regular season at Richmond International Raceway . It took Busch just over a month to find Victory Lane and he did so at Sonoma Raceway, holding off his brother. That sparked a stretch of four wins in five races for the 30-year-old, including three straight wins at Kentucky Speedway , New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway . He nearly pulled off a fourth straight win at Pocono Raceway but ran out of gas on the final lap. RELATED: See all the 2015 winners For the second half of the waiver requirement, Busch cracked the top 30 in points after the race at Watkins Glen International in August and secured his spot in the Chase after the Darlington race, which was the second-to-last race of the regular season. The Chase provided an early test for Busch as a wreck at New Hampshire and a 37th-place finish left him on the outside looking in of advancing to the Contender Round heading to Dover International Speedway . However, he was able to rally to advance with a runner-up finish at the "Monster Mile." Contact with Kyle Larson near the entrance of pit road at Charlotte in the Contender Round opener derailed a promising day for Busch and left him needing strong performances at Kansas Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway to make the Eliminator Round. Busch delivered at both, gaining the spots he needed late at Talladega, which was where he was involved in a wreck the previous year that took him out of the Chase. Busch was a model of consistency in the Eliminator Round with three top-five finishes to advance on points to the Championship 4. The title season was also a big one off the track for Busch as he and wife Samantha welcomed son Brexton in May, just days after Busch's return to competition. During Championship 4 Media Day, Busch and Joe Gibbs revealed that Busch had inked a contract extension days after the news of Mars extension as sponsor on the No. 18 Toyota was announced. The Sprint Cup championship is the first for crew chief Adam Stevens, who was in his first year as a pit boss in the Sprint Cup Series, and the fourth (and first since 2005) for Gibbs. It was also the first Sprint Cup championship for manufacturer Toyota. "We are extremely proud of Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing on winning the Sprint Cup Series driver's championship," said Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. "It's an incredible accomplishment for Kyle, to overcome the adversity he faced this year and come back with the focus and determination he has had to win races, qualify for the Chase and then earn the ultimate prize, his first Sprint Cup Series championship. "Winning this NASCAR championship has been a huge aspiration for Toyota since joining NASCAR in 2004. We are honored to finally be on this stage and join Kyle and Joe Gibbs for our first Sprint Cup Series title." Championship weekend was a banner one for the 30-year-old Busch. In addition to his Sprint Cup championship, Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Erik Jones won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship on Friday night and KBM won the owner's championship in that series.
Clint Bowyer 's loose No. 15 Toyota started a multi-car wreck during the season finale on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway shortly after a restart on Lap 45, forcing the fourth caution of the day. The other cars invovled were the No. 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr ., the No. 33 of Ty Dillon , the No. 55 of David Ragan and the No. 43 of Aric Almirola , who took his Ford to the garage. (Almirola returned to the race 55 laps down.) "We wrecked pretty good," Dale Jr. told his crew after getting clipped by Ragan's Toyota. Before the race's start, the Hendrick Motorsports wheelman was upfront saying he would assist in any way with helping Jeff Gordon attain his fifth title. After a trip down pit road, Earnhardt returned to the race several laps down. The Ford EcoBoost 400 is the final race for Michael Waltrip Racing which fields teams for both Bowyer and Ragan. Bowyer's day ended early and he told NBC from the garage, "I don't know what the hell happened. I was kind of optimistic about the race. We made a pit stop there and the car was just a way big handful there. I don't know, I was coming off of (Turn) 2 there and Ty (Dillon) kind of got squirrely and I tried to stay off of him and my car got loose and I just couldn't catch it. "I don't know, we just lost the handling on our car big-time there. Unfortunately ended -- you hate to end this way. I wanted to end on a strong note for everybody at MWR. Appreciate all of their hard work and efforts all these years but unfortunately it's over.” Here's how those involved ranked on the leaderboard at the race's end: Dillon (23rd), Ragan (27th), Earnhardt Jr. (40th), Almirola (41st) and Bowyer (43rd).
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Chase Grid Below is a breakdown of how the full 43-car field fared at Phoenix International Raceway : 1. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Junior fans that waited out the rain delay were rewarded with the HMS driver's third win of the season. 2. Kevin Harvick , No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Phoenix ace Harvick led a race-high 143 laps despite battling a "loose in" race car and a spotty radio. On to Homestead to defend his title. 3. Joey Logano , No. 22 Ford, Team Penske . Logano failed to make the Championship 4 for the second year in a row, despite his solid finish. He needed to win, but failed to lead a lap. 4. Kyle Busch , No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Busch also battled radio issues and got too close to the wall on a pit stall that resulted in his team not being able to jack his car up, but the JGR driver came away with a top five and Championship 4 spot, nonetheless. 5. Jimmie Johnson , No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Johnson was hit with a pit road speeding penalty while leading the race early on, but recovered for his 14th top-five finish of the season. 6. Jeff Gordon , No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . Gordon waded through handling issues in one area of the track but found himself in a favorable spot when the race was called on Lap 219. 7. Kurt Busch , No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Busch had one of the fastest cars but was black-flagged after jumping the start of the race. He never got back to the lead and was eliminated from the Chase. 8. Denny Hamlin , No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Hamlin will ride a top-10 finish into Homestead, where he won't get a shot at a title for the second straight year, but has a chance at his third win of the season. 9. Brad Keselowski , No. 2 Ford, Team Penske . Keselowski needed to win to advance but fell short despite leading four laps. 10. Aric Almirola , No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Almirola has been consistently above average in the Chase and picked up his sixth top 10 of the season at Phoenix. 11. Ryan Newman , No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Newman clinched his Championship 4 berth with a thrilling move at Phoenix last year, but not much stood out about his 2015 fall race. 12. Carl Edwards , No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Edwards received the free pass on Lap 196 to get back on the lead lap, but didn't have enough time to get to the front, where he needed to be if he wanted to advance. 13. Paul Menard , No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Menard spent a good amount of time in the top 10 and was on pace to top his best career finish (ninth) at the 1-mile track before fading a bit. 14. Martin Truex Jr ., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing . Truex got caught a lap down when the caution came out on Lap 196, but his finish was enough to help him advance to the Championship 4. 15. Jamie McMurray , No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. McMurray finished in the top 15 for the third consecutive race and will look to make it four in a row to close the season at Homestead. 16. Danica Patrick , No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Solid finish for Patrick, who overcame a penalty for having crew members over the wall too soon. 17. Justin Allgaier , No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . For the third time this season, Allgaier finished in the top 20 in two of three races. 18. David Ragan , No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing . Ragan finished in the top 20 and got a bonus point for leading a lap -- not too shabby. 19. Erik Jones , No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing . Jones closes out his substitute driver run for Matt Kenseth with his second consecutive top-20 finish. 20. Austin Dillon , No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing . Dillon has finished in the top 20 for four consecutive races, his longest such streak of the season. 21. Kyle Larson , No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. Larson came away disappointed with his finish after sporting a top-five car all weekend. 22. Casey Mears , No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing . Mears' brakes weren't flowing well, but crew chief Bootie Barker said they looked fine when he brought the car in for a pit stop. 23. Clint Bowyer , No. 15, Michael Waltrip Racing . Since his infamous run-in with Jeff Gordon at Phoenix in 2012, Bowyer has just one top-10 at the track. 24. AJ Allmendinger , No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG Daugherty Racing . Allmendinger reported that his car had no forward drive on Lap 162 in P24, and he stayed right there. 25. Greg Biffle , No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Biffle is still searching for his second top 10 since August and only has one race left to accomplish it. 26. Kasey Kahne , No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports . A disappointing season for Kahne continued at Phoenix, where he failed to lead a lap and picked up his worst finish since 2012. 27. Tony Stewart , No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing . Hard to believe, but Stewart has just three top-10s in 2015 -- and he didn’t come close to sniffing one at Phoenix. 28. Matt DiBenedetto , No. 83 Toyota, BK Racing . DiBenedetto got hit by Kasey Kahne on pit road but still managed his best finish since Darlington. 29. J.J. Yeley, No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing . Yeley had a great save early in the race and likely salvaged a better finish than he would've if he hadn't. 30. David Gilliland , No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Gilliland had a vibration in his brakes that plagued him to a finish just inside the top 30. 31. Sam Hornish Jr ., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports . Hornish had to make an unscheduled pit stop with slight damage on his left rear and came home 31st. 32. Michael Annett , No. 46 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports . Annett's 32nd-place finish is his second best at the 1-mile track in his career. 33. Cole Whitt , No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Whitt's finish broke a string of three consecutive finishes inside the top 30. 34. Trevor Bayne , No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Bayne was penalized for being too fast on pit road and never recovered. 35. Landon Cassill , No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Cassill's finish was his worst showing in the Phoenix fall race since 2010. 36. Brett Moffitt , No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports . Moffitt struggled with his No. 34 Ford, which had "no front grip in the tires." 37. Ryan Preece , No. 98 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Preece improved on his starting position by four places, which is a positive sign for a driver in just his fourth career Cup race. 38. Alex Bowman , No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing . Bowman struggled with the electric system of his ride, telling his team, "Got power voltage, but it does not crank at all." 39. Jeb Burton , No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing . Burton’s Phoenix showing was his worst finish since Charlotte. 40. Ryan Ellis , No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport. Ryan Ellis finished 40th in his Sprint Cup Series debut, but finished two spots higher than where he started. 41. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing . Stenhouse went to the garage after a brake issue caused a wreck with Joey Gase on Lap 196. 42. Joey Gase , No. 32 Ford, GoFAS Racing. Gase took significant damage to his No. 32 Ford after a wreck with Ricky Stenhouse Jr . on Lap 196 . 43. Timmy Hill , No. 62 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. Hill dropped a valve and eventually had his ride let the motor go.
Final practice recap " RELATED: Full practice results Joey Logano (175.404 mph) topped the board in the final NASCAR Sprint Cup practice of the season before Sunday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The 50-minute session marked the last on-track time before Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBC/Live Extra, MRN, SiriusXM). The Team Penske driver scored a front row starting spot in qualifying for Sunday's race and has six wins on the season. He also secured the best five-lap average. Kasey Kahne came in second in the session (175.080 mph). Kahne is trying to avoid his first winless season since 2010. Dale Earnhardt Jr . (175.035 mph), Carl Edwards (174.571 mph) and Kurt Busch (174.560 mph) rounded out the top five. Jeff Gordon led the way for the Championship 4 drivers, finishing the session ninth (173.321 mph). The four-time champion held the best 10-lap average at 169.489 mph. Martin Truex Jr . was 10th (173.232 mph), Kyle Busch was 17th (171.418 mph) and Kevin Harvick was 26th (169.972 mph). Harvick, the defending champion and race winner, opened the session on scuff tires for his initial run and reported near the end of the session that he thought the right front tire may be going soft. The top finisher in Sunday's race among the Championship 4 drivers will be crowned the 2015 Sprint Cup champion. David Ragan suffered a flat left-rear tire 10 minutes into practice. Saturday's final practice was the lone practice to go the scheduled length as weather did not interrupt the team's on-track time. Practice 1 recap " RELATED: Full practice results Kyle Larson emerged with the fastest speed in the first of two Sprint Cup Series practices on Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway after the session started late and ended early because of rain. The Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver's best speed of 176.010 mph edged defending series champion and one of four remaining Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers in Kevin Harvick , who pulled in second at 175.194 mph clip. Carl Edwards (174.374 mph), Greg Biffle (174.126 mph) and Joey Logano (174.081 mph) rounded out the top five. Kyle Busch was the only other Chase driver in the top 10, placing ninth overall with a speed of 173.399 mph. Jeff Gordon was 15 th at 172.337 mph and Martin Truex Jr . was 19 th at 171.816 mph. Casey Mears and AJ Allmendinger both ran into issues in the session, each spinning with Allmendinger's No. 47 Chevrolet taking heavy right-side damage.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Wood Brothers Racing , one of the longest tenured teams competing in NASCAR's premier series, will return to full-time competition beginning in 2016. Officials with the team and Ford Motor Co. made the announcement Friday afternoon at Homestead-Miami Speedway , site of this weekend's Ford EcoBoost 400 (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) season-ending event. Ryan Blaney will handle the driving duties, embarking upon his first full season after making 15 starts for the team this year heading into Sunday's race. Weather issues kept the team from attempting to qualify at Daytona, Kentucky and Chicago earlier this year. "These are the guys that made it happen, Ford Motor Company," co-team owner Eddie Wood said. "It is just a lot of people that have been working on this for a long time and we are really proud of our association and heritage with Ford Motor Company. We have been racing Ford Motor Company products for 65 years and we are really looking forward to next year and getting started with that." The team will continue to have a technical alliance with Team Penske , which fields Sprint Cup entries for drivers Joey Logano and 2012 champion Brad Keselowski . "It is what you dream of as a kid," Blaney, 21, said. "I have been fortunate enough to get great opportunities and meet great people being with Team Penske in 2012 which led to the Wood Brothers this year and then beyond for next year. "Obviously it is a little overwhelming right now … knowing what is going to come but I am excited for it. I don't get excited about a lot of things and maybe I don't show it but I am really excited about this program for next year and having the opportunity." It will be the first time since 2008 that the Wood Brothers organization, founded by team owner Glen Wood in 1953, has attempted to run the entire NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. That season, three drivers -- Bill Elliott , Marcos Ambrose and Jon Wood -- split the driving duties, although Johnny Sauter made one attempt, failing to qualify at Las Vegas. The last full season with a single-driver for the team came in 2006 with veteran Ken Schrader . "We were in Pocono … testing for the Pocono race on May 28, 2008," Wood said. "At about noon that day Mr. Ford called me looking for a phone number. I hadn't talked to him in a while and he said, 'I haven't heard from you in a while, why haven't you called?' I told him we had been running so poorly that I had really just been ashamed. He says, 'So, you are saying this 21 is broken?' and I said, ‘Yeah, it is broken right now.' "So he said we were going to see about that, that we would fix that. From that day until now, it has been just like this. He put some things in motion that started to help like increased engineering and just more of everything. There were some Ford Motor Company people that … moved in with us and helped get us straightened out and three years later we win the Daytona 500 (with driver Trevor Bayne ). You can never give up." Wood Brothers entries have visited Victory Lane 98 times, sixth most among active teams and seventh overall. The list of drivers who have won for the team includes NASCAR Hall of Fame members Wood, Curtis Turner (a 2016 inductee), Cale Yarborough, David Pearson and Dale Jarrett. Leonard Wood, younger brother of Glen and crew chief for the majority of the team's victories, is also in the Hall of Fame. Despite often running a limited schedule, the organization has finished in the top 10 in points 13 times and won the series' premier event, the Daytona 500 , five times. "I think the timing was perfect for this to all come together," Edsel Ford II said. "I think with Team Penske 's help, that kind of motivated us to sort of talk to the Wood Brothers internally … and find out if this was possible. It just all came together this year and fit. It fit perfectly. So why not do it." NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series schedule consists of 36 points races and two non-points event and runs from February through mid-November. Entering this weekend's event, 35 teams have competed in all points races contested thus far this season.
AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Kyle Busch took another step in what's been a long, amazing journey here Sunday evening, finishing fourth in the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 to earn an opportunity to compete for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship next weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The Joe Gibbs Racing driver, never a winner of the series' top prize, will join Jeff Gordon ( Hendrick Motorsports ), defending series champion Kevin Harvick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ) and Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ) in the Championship 4 round of this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup . That he qualified for the 16-team Chase to begin with was more than noteworthy -- Busch missed the first 11 points races after breaking his right leg and left foot in a crash during the season-opening XFINITY Series race at Daytona. Once he did return, he ripped off three wins in a four-race span to earn a spot in the Chase. Of course, Busch has been there before -- and his Chase fortunes have rarely ended well. This year, though, could be different. "I guess I'm just pleased that I didn't have any bad luck," Busch said after Phoenix. "We didn't necessarily have any good luck through the Chase. "We did in the summer, definitely. We were running second, third, whatever it might have been, and then we had a good pit call or something kind of go our way with a yellow flag and it got us our track position, got out front; we won a couple races through the summer, but it's just been pretty even keel, and I'm happy with that. "I feel like we've done some good things through this Chase. We've run up front, we've run strong. We also had a couple mishaps but fortunately they weren't big enough that they eliminated us. We were able to persevere through those things." Busch entered Sunday's race second in the point standings -- safe but perhaps not secure. However, a race that began more than six hours late due to weather provided limited drama and ended after only 219 of its 312 laps had been completed when rain returned. Busch was able to avoid any missteps and he and his team begin preparations for what lies ahead. "Now going to Homestead for the first time with the opportunity to win a championship is really awesome," Busch said. "It's very good for my team. (Crew chief) Adam Stevens and these guys, they worked really hard and they persevered all through the beginning … of the season when I was gone, working with David Ragan and Erik Jones and Matt Crafton and those guys that drove my race car. "But once I was able to return, it felt pretty good to get back in the car and have my team guys motivated and ready to have me back, and we've really excelled since then." Dale Earnhardt Jr . ultimately won the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 , the second consecutive Chase race won by a non-Chase driver and third straight event won by a Hendrick Motorsports driver. Busch's best previous Chase finish was fourth (in 2013), and came before the elimination element was implemented into the 10-race format.
NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth met Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina, in advance of the driver's return to the track following a two-race suspension. France was "pleased" with the dialogue, according to a tweet from NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes. NASCAR's Brian France met with Matt Kenseth today in CLT. Brian was pleased with the dialogue. Now all focus is on Ford Championship Weekend — Brett Jewkes (@BJewkes) November 16, 2015 Kenseth was suspended for the past two races following his role in an on-track incident with Joey Logano at Martinsville Speedway . He will return to the No. 20 Toyota at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Ford EcoBoost 400 . "NASCAR has asked the driver of the 20 to meet with Chairman and CEO Brian France," NASCAR Vice President David Higdon confirmed earlier Monday, and the two got together shortly thereafter. Kenseth tweeted later Monday afternoon, noting that he's "glad to have all this behind (him)." Glad to have all this behind me. I'm looking forward to homestead! #team20 #jgr — Matt Kenseth (@mattkenseth) November 16, 2015 France and NASCAR handed down the suspension, which was upheld on appeals, following Kenseth's wreck of race leader Joey Logano in the Eliminator Round opener. The two had previous on-track run-ins, and Kenseth -- nearly 10 laps down at the time -- drove Logano into the wall with less than 50 laps remaining. Logano was eliminated from the postseason following Sunday's race at Phoenix International Raceway . Kenseth had been eliminated the week before Martinsville. In addition to his suspension, Kenseth is on probation for the rest of 2015.
Going out on top is something every athlete dreams of when their career is winding down. That metaphorical ride into the sunset feels a whole lot sweeter with a title in hand. Because an athlete's performance tends to diminish in the latter years, the feat is much easier said than done. But heading into Sunday's Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM), the Ford EcoBoost 400 , Jeff Gordon is in position to walk away on top -- with his fifth Sprint Cup Series championship. In January, the driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet announced that 2015 would be his final full-time season. Chase Elliott will pilot the car starting when the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series begins. Gordon's swan-song season hasn't been as strong as his four-win campaign in 2014, but he is still walking away while performing at a high level. That was evident a few weeks ago at Martinsville Speedway , where the 44-year-old scored his 93rd career premier series victory. In addition to the pure joy Gordon displayed upon winning the race, the victory locked him into being one of the four drivers to battle for a championship. If Gordon is the best finisher among the four title-eligible drivers at the 1.5-mile track, then he goes out in style and truly walks away on top. Gordon would not be alone in that club among all athletes. There have been several stars to walk away while still performing at a high level, but its even rarer to see an athlete walk away on the top of mountain with a championship. • Quarterback John Elway spent his entire 16-year career with the Denver Broncos, despite being drafted by the then-Baltimore Colts, who would later deal Elway to Denver. Up until his final two NFL seasons, Elway had not won a Super Bowl, but he closed his career with back-to-back Super Bowl titles before calling it a career. He even was named the Super Bowl MVP in his final game, Super Bowl XXXIII. Elway's dream ending is the type of finish Gordon is going for. • You may know Michael Strahan better these days as one half of LIVE! with Kelly and Michael, but before that he was busy chasing down quarterbacks like nobody else. In his career, he recorded 141.5 sacks, including setting the single-season mark of 22.5 in 2001. Strahan was the defensive leader of the New York Giants for several years and was a key part of the team that knocked off the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. He retired the following summer. • David Robinson was one of the NBA's best centers for a number of years. Injuries and the presence of Tim Duncan on the San Antonio Spurs saw Robinson's offensive role decrease toward the end of his career, but "The Admiral" was still a force on the defensive end. In the final game of his career, Game 6 of the 2003 NBA Finals, Robinson turned in a vintage performance with 13 points and 17 rebounds as the Spurs topped the New Jersey Nets to win the championship. The title was Robinson's second of his career and sent him out of the NBA on top. Gordon has a chance to ride into the sunset with a championship. He already has four titles (1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001) but is hungry for a fifth. Will he score a championship for the ages or will Kevin Harvick , Kyle Busch or Martin Truex Jr . deny him in his bid for another title? Tune in Sunday to find out.