As the opening round of the 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup came to a close last Sunday at Dover International Speedway, Kyle Busch was never really in danger of falling outside of the top 12 in points, but he did advance just by the skin of his teeth.
The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was second to Kevin Harvick at the Monster Mile, finishing the day ninth in the standings, one point ahead of the tie between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jamie McMurray for the final transfer spot.
Through to the next round, Busch remains in contention for the title. Here are five reasons while Kyle Busch will earn his first Sprint Cup Series championship at the end of the year:
5. Ready to be a champion. Throughout Busch's career, he has seen successful regular season campaigns go by the wayside once the final 10 races of the Chase began. Even last year he entered the elimination race at Talladega Superspeedway second in points, but played it conservatively, was collected in someone's mistake and his title hopes came to an end. Older and wiser, Busch knows how to lose a championship and is ready to win one for himself.
4. A changed man. Back to that older and wiser thing. Now 30 years of age, Busch is married and welcomed his first son earlier this year. While he certainly hasn't lost the competitive fire, his life away from the track has balanced the once wild-card driver. Despite what some may say, a happy driver off the track often leads to a successful one on the track, and Busch has done a lot of smiling since coming back.
3. Stevens has what it takes. Adam Stevens may be in his first season as a Sprint Cup Series crew chief, but he has shown he is fully capable of leading a successful campaign, despite setbacks. Few could have predicted the rocky road he would endure in his first season, yet through it all Stevens has remained even-keeled and focused on the big picture. Not fazed by the adversity he has faced, Stevens appears to have what it takes to lead a championship-winning campaign.
2. Gibbs' standout season. Most in the NASCAR industry believe at least one -- if not more -- of the JGR cars will be in the final four at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch has been one of the team's best drivers since his return in May and although Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin earned wins in the first round of the Chase, Busch has been no slouch. If he can avoid trouble not of his own making, Busch should be a part of the championship fight at Homestead.
1. He's overcome everything else. Few would have thought on Feb. 21 that Busch would have four regular season wins and be contending for the championship. Suffering a compound fracture of the upper right leg and a mid-foot fracture of the left foot during the season-opening XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway, his year appeared to be over before it even began.
As many of his competitors already know, it is hard to slow Kyle Busch down. He made an incredible recovery working with doctors and physical therapists, returned for the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and went on to earn his spot in the 16-driver Chase field.
Overcoming all of the obstacles placed ahead of him off the track, Busch has what it takes overcome the competition on the track to earn his first Sprint Cup title.
"If it comes down to us and being able to win that race in Homestead and then to celebrate, I'm pretty sure the first thing that will happen when the race is over is tears may be flowing," Busch during the Contender Round Chase Media Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.