Kyle Busch Eager For His Second Series Championship

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Kyle Busch wants a second championship to validate his first.

Busch missed nearly half the 2015 season because of injuries sustained before the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. He returned months later and got a waiver that allowed him to compete for the championship. He went on to win his first title.

“No question I think the second championship validates the first one,” Busch said Thursday at NASCAR’s championship media day. “There’s a lot of arguments being made that we didn’t deserve the first one, we should never have been there for the first one. The fact of the matter is we executed and did our job with the rules that were given to us and we achieved.

“This would kind of put ourselves in another elite group of drivers and guys and teams that have been really, really good over the years that have been able to go win championships. I certainly would have loved to have gotten in last year and we could talk about going for three in a row rather than just two of the last three.”

Given Martin Truex Jr.’s dominance all year and Kevin Harvick’s late surge, Busch might be driving under the radar into the finale.

“I wouldn’t say I like it, but I wouldn’t say that it’s a problem,” Busch said. “It doesn’t do us any harm to not be the focal point. I feel as though we’ve been really strong this year. We’ve had really good cars all season long. We’ve probably been arguably the best guy, the closest guy that’s kept up with (Truex) all year. There’s been blurbs of (Kyle Larson). There’s been blurbs of the Penske guys early on in the season. And (Harvick’s) kind of come on as of late with the playoffs starting and their team getting a lot better, getting a lot closer.

“We know all those challenges are out there. All we can do is focus on what we can do and what we know how to do coming into Homestead and what we’ve been able to accomplish the last three years here.”

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Kevin Harvick is the only 40-something driver in the championship field.

That so-called youth movement in NASCAR will have to wait. At least when it comes to the championship race.

Harvick is 41, Martin Truex Jr. is 37, Brad Keselowski is 33 and Kyle Busch is 32. All have raced for the championship before and Truex is the only one among the four without a title.

Harvick says, experience matters to reach Homestead.

“The young guys, they did a great job, but you’ve got a 118 wins sitting here racing for a championship,” Harvick said. “Experience will always matter in this sport. Obviously, there will be a day I can’t do it. Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott are going to have great careers and they’re going to be sitting here answering these same questions 20 years from now. But experience will always matter.”

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Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch have a long standing feud that isn’t going away anytime soon.

Asked Thursday why they’ve never put their rivalry behind them, Keselowski tried to toe the line.

Busch? Not so much.

“Sometimes you just don’t like a guy,” Busch said.

The two are part of the final four title contenders who will race for the championship Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Keselowski said he’s not thinking about Busch because he has to beat three drivers to win the title, not just Busch.

When Busch expanded on why he doesn’t like Keselowski, he intimated that Keselowski has raced him too aggressively over the years.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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