HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Kyle Busch won the 2015 Sprint Cup Championship on Sunday at Miami-Homestead in spite of the severe leg injuries at Daytona International Speedway in the XFinity race that caused him to miss the next day's Daytona 500 and 10 races after that.
Why? Because NASCAR didn't have soft wall barriers installed with the interior wall that caused Busch to suffer a broken leg and ankle, injuries that ould have derailed his career for good and possibly even have cost him his life.
So, yes, Kyle Busch is the "comeback champ" Overall, though, especially in the last few years, NASCAR's Chase has become an absolute joke. The real Sprint Cup Champ in the eyes of the fans is Joey Logano. And why not? He led all drivers with seven victories, including the opening Daytona 500, which has been marketed as the "Super Bowl of NASCAR."
But NASCAR CEO Brian France has made a mockery of stock car racing with the point system known as "The Chase." Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was the Daytona 500 winner in 2014, but he was not among the final four for the cup last year. Ryan Newman, with no wins, was in the finals, though.
And no disrespect to Jeff Gordon in his final race Sunday, but did anyone really believe he deserved to to be among the final four with just one win the entire season heading into Homestead?
And marketing like "Daytona Rising" with 100,00-plus seats ripped out with more steel added vertically to the rector-set grandstands and new skin really going to bring back the fans who have left NASCAR in droves? Pockrass did great with what little he had to work with for the diehard stock car fans that have remained.
NASCAR will say this psrticular writer is bitter because he is no longer given media access, dictated in a phone call, no less, by a DIS PR flak on Friday the 13th of June 2014. This, despite previous award-winning journalism coverage dating back to the beginning of the 21st century.
There was the trial coverage of Dale Earnhardt's widow successfully getting a judge to seal the autopsy photos. The coverage of a Texas Motor Speedway shareholder's federal lawsuit that forced NASCAR to grant a second race date. And three years ago, a column on fulfilling a childhood dream back in Connecticut to one day go to Daytona and cover the 500, something this trporter has done more than a dozen times, even with the ban, as a paid attendee in the grandstands this year.
And why was this award-winning reporter (dozen Florida Press Club awards in last four years alone with HeadlineSurfer.com and more than 50 overall in a longstanding metro newspaper repoerting career)in a career as a newspaper reporter) banned?
Because this online journalist had the audacity to report that the billionaire France Family -- which controls NASCAR and a has controlling interest in publicly-traded International Speedway Corp (13 tracks: Daytona, Talladega, Miami-Homestead, etc) and their rich politically-connected friends -- invested a quarter of a million dollars in campaign contributions to easily-swayed politicians in the last two election cycles in Daytona, Volusia County and Tallahassee in hoprs of cashing in on close to $150 million in taxpayer subsidies.
The Frances came up $93 million short because stadium funding subsidty was not voted on by the Florida Legislature, though it's expected to be pushed again in the Spring session.
Still, Brian France's big sister, who is the czar-ess of ISC, along with her booard member underlinfs -- former Florida Democratic Speaker of the House J. Hyatt Brown, chairman of Brown and Brown Insurance, and Mori Hosseibni, owner of ICI Homes, collectively gor the Daytona City Commission and the Volusia County Council 18 months ago to each pony up $20 million for the One Daytona retail village project that was supposed to break ground back in January.
But that project hasn't turned dirt with Thanksgiving three days away. And the Frances got close to $20 million for a second walkwayy overpass in front of the Speedway on ISB plus aestheics like newly-paved sidewalks and freshly-planted trees.
Perhaps the young guns like Logano and Kyle Larson will win back the fans someday who have left in droves,
But with Gordon and Tony Stewart now gone and Dale Earnhardt Jr in the twilight of a Hall of Fame career, despite not winning a single cup championship (another testament to the snickering that comes with crowning a season-ending champ), NASCAR's greed may finally prove to be the France Family's undoing.