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NASCAR Indianapolis 2015 recap: Defiant Kyle Busch proving detractors wrong

Whether coming back from injury, winning or making NASCAR’s playoffs, Kyle Busch is showing nothing can stop him.

Effusing the kind of confidence that only comes with a transcendent run that's seen him become the first driver in eight years to win three consecutive races, the message delivered was clear.

If you want to doubt Kyle Busch you do so at your own peril, he's just going to prove you wrong. That's the recurring theme of his 2015 season featuring multiple trips to Victory Lane and a remarkable recovery from devastating injuries.

When a broken leg and broken ankle sustained in a February crash seemingly ended his season before it ever began, the Joe Gibbs Racing driver returned far sooner than anyone expected -- including himself. A mere 12 weeks later, he was back in the No. 18 car showing no ill effects.

And if you questioned whether he could win upon returning or stated it would be some time before doing so, Busch shredded that notion by winning in the fifth race of his comeback. On a road course, nonetheless, requiring him to put great pressure on a left foot held together with screws.

That win, however, didn't assure Busch would qualify for a spot in NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup playoff. There was more work still needed if he were to accumulate enough points to move above the top 30 threshold officials mandated.

With reason, there were some reservations. Busch had missed 11 races while injured and crashed out in two of his first starts back. The points hole he found himself in was sizable, leaving no margin for error.

Then came successive victories at Kentucky Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Sunday, Indianapolis Motor Speedway featuring three rapidly diverse aerodynamic rules packages.

All of a sudden Busch's Chase status has transformed from fringe to near certainty. By winning the Brickyard 400 Sunday, he is a mere 23 points behind 30th-ranked Justin Allgaier. The four wins in five races have provided enough of a cushion that even if Busch were to stumble some, he still should qualify rather easily.

"I don't have any doubts," Busch said of qualifying.

That he's likely to be part of the 16-driver Chase field has provided Busch with additional material to defy his critics.

Because he missed 11 races, there are some who say Busch isn't deserving of a playoff spot. That if he were to go on and win the championship, it would make a mockery of the system.

A position, which loses potency when you consider Busch found himself in a hospital with mangled legs only because NASCAR and its subsidiary track, Daytona International Speedway, failed to protect him by not installing an energy-absorbent barrier on the wall Busch slammed into.

"I don't care what people say," Busch said. "They pay me to be the behind wheel, and unfortunately due to injury I wasn't able to attend the first 11 races of the season. It's not like I didn't want to be there but my team was still there, and we're going to go on and compete for a championship. And if we win a championship, then it's not that they're going to take it away from me.

"It wasn't like I was on a vacation. It was pretty hard times. It was tough to fight through all those things that I had to go through."

And it's not as though NASCAR went out of its way to placate Busch as a make-good for its ineffectiveness. The sanctioning body simply granted him the same waiver it had allotted to Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson and others previously.

One can take issue whether NASCAR should handout any such exemptions, a valid argument though not applicable here. In this instance, officials were following past precedence by allowing Busch to determine his own Chase fate. If he was deserving, the proof would come on the track.

And defiantly, maintaining the edge of someone who's out to show the detractors how wrong they've been, Busch has done just that.