By Sunday, Kyle Bush's career was still coming with an asterisk. But, but. What will happen.
These are gone, left forever after a slow cruise in late fall around a South Florida runway, father and son grinning from ear to ear in their Toyota Camry, under the banner you read "NASCAR Monster Energy Series Champion Cup 2019 ".
The 34-year-old Bush just earned his fifth win of the season and his 56th of his career, moving into sole possession of ninth place on the NASCAR all-time winning list. He is already the all-time leader in wins in the Xfinity Series, nearly doubling in Hall of Famer Mark Martin from 96 to 49 on Martin. He also holds the most Truck trophies, with 56, five more than other Hall of Famer, Ron Hornaday Jr.
Busch is ranked 1
That's how long the NASCAR fan base has known about Kyle Bush for 18 years, longer than he was alive when we first met him. He was Kurt's sinister punk little brother. He is now a happily married father, businessman and reality star. The snarl still appears from time to time, but it is no longer the main line of his life. It has literally grown before our eyes.
Perhaps the length and breadth of this connection is why its mountains of incredible statistics do not attract the praise it should. We are too used to him winning races – we are excited about it for a long time. Kyle Busch wins the race as the sun rises or the rain falls. It just happens. It always happens. It's a stable part of every car racer's life, as there were Marvel smartphones or movies before.
That's why this asterisk, but what if they were there, no matter how unreasonable they would be.
Kyle Bush has won more NASCAR national competitions than any person who has ever walked on the surface of this planet … but … he had only one championship ?! What if he never won another? Isn't that an asterisk that separates him from all those other names in his neighborhood in all the other lists for all time? Petty, Pearson, Gordon, Earnhardt, Johnson, Yarborough, Waltrip … can he really be allowed to stand among them with just one title in the Cup Series?
Now these conversations can be verified in the same retirement home where "He will never mature" and "He will never be able to put a full season from spring to fall" together "and" He will never play well with teammates "talks have been sent over the years.
This season provided the perfect path for Bush to leave the last remnants of those criticisms to rest. After starting the year with four wins in his first 14 races, including three of the first eight, he failed to visit Vi ctory Lane for 21 races until winning the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway On Sunday night, crew chief Adam Stevens spoke of the drought, saying the driver's patience was certainly bent, but it never completely broke as it would
During his downfall, he watched his teammates Joe Gibbs Race, winning nine times New teammate Martin Trues Jr. leads the seven-win streak and wins three times during the playoffs NASCAR himself. Old teammate Danny Hamlin earned six wins, two in the playoffs. On Sunday night, all three of them occupied all but one of the four championship final slots.
But in the end, Bush was overwhelming, and Bush thankfully congratulated the two teammates as he dedicated their combined season to the memory of their former boss, JD Gibbs, who died in January after a long battle with degenerative neurological disease.
"There certainly was a time when Kyle probably wouldn't be perceived as a person who could become this mature or a great teammate," says Joe Gibbs, who has been hired by Bush since 2008. after the youth burned through ties with two other NASCAR plants, Roush Fenway Racing and Hendrick Motorsports. "But my son J.D. saw that potential in him. And now that's exactly Kyle Bush."
He is also a two-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion. This 2019 season was NASCAR's 70th. During that time, only 15 drivers won more than one Cup Series championship. He is now 16th.
"You guys always throw a lot of numbers at me and I can't keep up with all of them," Bush said Sunday night. "But I can handle two. And that's the biggest number of them all for me.
As a NASCAR fan, you don't have to like Kyle Bush, but you have to respect him. One day, but soon it's not a day. he will enter the NASCAR Hall of Fame with enough trophies, T-shirts and memorabilia on Victor's tape to fill his own museum floor.
And there will be no single asterisk from Sunday night, but what if if .