The 2015 NASCAR season may be in the books, but there are still lots of stories to come from what was a memorable year for all three national touring series. One thing is for sure – NASCAR has a lot to be thankful for in 2015.
Here are some of the best stories from NASCAR 2015, that left fans, teams, and drivers all feeling great:
Kyle Busch: The Comeback Kid
The 2015 season could not have started worse for Kyle Busch. Not only did he crash out of his first start of the season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Daytona, he would also break his leg and foot after colliding with an unprotected barrier in the race. The injury would sideline Busch for many weeks, and many feared he could be out for the remainder of the season.
However, as Kyle Busch has proven many times before, he would not quit. Eleven weeks later, and after practically having to relearn how to walk, Busch would be back behind the wheel of a NASCAR racecar. Many were just happy to see Rowdy’s return to the racetrack, but Busch had his eyes on a higher prize – the Sprint Cup. He would defy the odds, winning enough races and gaining enough points to get into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. And against all odds in the Chase, he would come out on top, champion for the first time in his career.
Kyle Busch became a comeback story for the ages, and one we can all be happy for.
Toyota Gains Strength
In years past, Toyota as a manufacturer has found the most success in the Camping World Truck Series. With multiple owners, manufacturers, and driver’s championships for the Japanese automaker, they have been looking ever since to find consistent success at a similar level in the Xfinity and Cup levels. This year, Toyota found some of that success in the Cup Series, claiming their first driver’s championship with the aforementioned Kyle Busch. Joe Gibbs Racing would give them a title, and it may be just one of many to come.
Roush’s Bright Spot
To put it nicely, it was not a banner type of year for Roush-Fenway Racing. The team as a whole only notched two victories, both by Chris Buescher in the Xfinity Series. In fact, Buescher would be the bright spot for the Ford team, bringing home the title for NASCAR’s #2 series. So while the Cup Series drivers languished and tried to find speed, Chris Buescher remained in control, and took charge to the Xfinity Series, where he looks to repeat in 2016.
Wood Brothers Return
While the good news here will shine more brightly in 2016, it always good news when you talk about Wood Brothers Racing. One of the oldest teams still actively competing in NASCAR, the team announced they will return to full-time racing next season with Ryan Blaney driving. Many drivers and fans expressed their excitement over the team returning, but also their excitement for Blaney. After a 2015 season where he bounced back and forth between series, he will get to settle down and race for wins, and rookie of the year.
Jeff Gordon’s Influence
All season long, tributes and honors poured in for one of NASCAR’s most influential drivers, who was calling it a career at the end of 2015. Jeff Gordon allowed everyone along for the ride this year, to relish in the memories and great moments of his storied lifetime. But the driver who is likely to be a first ballot hall of famer won’t be leaving NASCAR anytime soon it turns out, as he will be sticking around to become a broadcaster for Fox Sports. And for that, we are all happier that Jeff Gordon will still be around.
With so much to be thankful for in 2015, what are you thankful for NASCAR fans? Comment with your thoughts below, or tweet them to us at @LWOSracing.