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Busch battles back from serious injury to claim 1st title

Busch battles back from serious injury to claim 1st title


(AP) — When he crashed into a concrete wall at Daytona, Kyle Busch knew instantly his right leg and left foot were broken.

His first thought was that his career was over.

'I was really worried. I was like, 'Man, I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to get back in a car again,'' Busch said. 'It did cross my mind, I was thinking, 'My wife's pregnant and I got no job.' I think that's just the emotion that goes through in that moment.'

Busch completed a comeback for the ages on Sunday when he won at Homestead-Miami Speedway to earn his first Sprint Cup championship.

It came nine months after his crash into a concrete wall the day before the Daytona 500 — a wreck that forced NASCAR to make serious safety improvements across the circuit.

Busch watched the season opener from a hospital bed, had multiple surgeries and withstood a grueling rehabilitation program. He wound up missing just 11 races and returned to his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota right before his 30th birthday and right before wife Samantha gave birth to their first child, a son.

Harvick finished a distant second, Gordon was sixth, and Martin Truex Jr., the fourth driver in the championship field, finished 12th.

There was a strong sentimental push for Gordon to go out on top in his final race. But he was only average all season, and that didn't change Sunday night in front of a huge contingent of friends and family that included Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton and Mario Andretti, who both sat atop his pit box at the start of the race.

Gordon led nine laps early in the race and was third for an early restart but he bobbled it and plummeted to eighth.

That was about as good as he'd be the rest of the race as he struggled mightily with the handling of his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

'Gosh, I'm a little disappointed, I'll be honest,' Gordon said. 'I thought going into the race we had something for them.'

Gordon eventually made his way to victory lane to congratulate Busch, who began his career as Gordon's teammate at Hendrick Motorsports.

'All he's been through this year, nobody's more deserving than him,' Gordon said about the new champion.

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