For Kyle Busch, Losing Title To A Seven-time Champ Isn’t So Bad After All

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By Yvonne Jones, Staff Writer

After coming close to making a little history of his own, Kyle Busch reflected on his season saying there’s actually no shame in being denied by a seven-time champ.

In fact, Busch said that’s the person he’d rather have stop him. Busch, the 2015 champ, was trying to become the first to win back-to-back Cup series titles since Jimmie Johnson did it from 2006-10, but he was foiled by the Hendrick Motorsports driver.

“At least I was stopped by someone that’s really good at what they’re doing,” said the 31-year-old Busch. “Obviously being a seven-time champ you have a lot of accolades that you have accomplished over the years that make you very successful in our sport.

“We were close. We were a few restarts, 25 laps or so away from being able to repeat as champions but it just wasn’t meant to be. We just didn’t achieve enough this year in order to get there.”

Still, Busch called 2016 a successful season, one in which he won four times. Two of those victories came at tracks where he hadn’t won before. He also picked up three awards, including Mobil 1 Driver of the Year award during the Myers Brothers luncheon.

“We are satisfied with our season for sure,” Busch said. “We won some races. We won some good races that I hadn’t won in the past like Martinsville. We won a marquee event at the Brickyard 400 this year so some good things really came of it.”

The Las Vegas native failed to find Victory Lane during the 10-race playoffs but had nine top 10s to get to the championship round.

“We were one of the only guys in the final four that got to the final four off of consistency and not being able to win a race in the Chase,” Busch pointed out. “That’s not a great accolade but we still take pride in what we were able to accomplish.”

Busch won at Homestead en route to claiming his first series title last season after missing 11 races due to injuries from a crash in the season-opening Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway. Looking back, he admits his team must pick it up when The Chase rolls around if they want to hoist another trophy.

“We definitely know the second half of the season is not our strength but we got to get better at that,” he said. “And if that’s something that we have to work on in order to become champions, we have to fix it.”

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