Kurt Busch: ‘Internal strength’ fueled Kyle’s comeback to championship

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — As Kurt Busch walked through the garages Sunday night after congratulating his younger brother, emotions began to overwhelm him.

Kyle Busch celebrates his first career Sprint Cup championship.

While addressing Kyle Busch’s recovery from a broken leg and broken foot in February to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship by winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday night, Kurt Busch fought back tears.

“He’s got that internal strength,” Busch told USA TODAY Sports, his voice cracking. “That’s something my dad instilled in both of us. Nobody is ever going to do it unless you go out and do it. He just went out there and did it.”.

Kurt Busch, 37, won the Cup championship in 2004. Kyle Busch, 30, won the 2015 championship by outrunning Kurt Busch’s Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Kevin Harvick, after a restart with seven laps remaining in the season finale.

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As Busch talked about his brother, Harvick’s car was pushed past him.

“Kevin Harvick right here defended his championship like a true champion,” Busch said. “That’s my teammate. He came up just one position short. I couldn’t have picked two better guys to run for the title.”.

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When he got out of his car at the end of the race, Busch went to greet his brother. The two embraced as Kurt Busch congratulated him.

“I just said to him, ‘I’m so very proud of you,’ ” Busch said. ” ‘I always knew you were a champion, and welcome to the champion’s club.’ “.

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Combined, the Busch brothers, whose careers began in Legends cars as teenagers in Las Vegas, have 61 Cup victories. And now, they’re both champions.

“I’m so very proud of him,” Kurt Busch said. “Kyle’s always been a champion in my mind. To experience this with him and to welcome him to the champion’s club is something I’ve always wanted to do because I knew he was a champion. Now he’s got the trophy to go with it.”.

And while Kyle Busch admitted the brothers “may not see eye to eye all the time,” he said Sunday was a great family moment.

When Kurt Busch won his title in 2004, “I was the first one to his car. I was in his window before he even got out,” Kyle remembered a couple hours after the confetti had fallen Sunday.

“That was pretty special. I remember that still today. I remember sitting back in his motorhome watching the TV on the outside and seeing how it was all playing out, and I remember when his wheel fell off, I did the same old Busch thing that we always do. ‘Oh, it’s over, that’s it, darn, what am I here for now?’ Kind of thing, and he brought it back and he won.”.

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Now, the family has another title to celebrate.

And will the family tradition continue with Kyle Busch’s son Brexton, born this summer?

Kyle Busch recounted a story from the night Brexton was born, when his father Tom asked him if he wanted his son to grow up and race.

“I don’t know, if he wants to, that’s fine,” Kyle Busch said. “Otherwise we’ll find something for him to do.”.

Responded the father: “Well, you do know I’m pretty good at figuring out whether they’re good or not, so I’ll be sure to let you know pretty early.”.

Contributing: Heather Tucker.