Kyle Busch wins ESPY Best Driver Award

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 22: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Crispy Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 22: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 champion Kyle Busch won the ESPY Award for Best Driver Wednesday at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. He is the eighth NASCAR driver to win the award since its inception in 1993.

“I’m honored to be able to win the ESPY for Best Driver this year,” Busch said. “I can’t thank everyone on my team enough, but also can’t thank M&M’S and Toyota enough for all of their support as well. I also want to thank all the fans that took the time to vote and help make this award possible for myself and our team.”

Busch missed the first 11 Sprint Cup points races of the 2015 after suffering horrific injuries in a hard crash at Daytona International Speedway near the end of the NASCAR Xfinity Series race in February.  He broke his right leg and left foot and underwent several surgeries. After months of intense rehabilitation, he returned and raced in the NASCAR All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway last May.  He returned to full time competition at the same track a week later.  NASCAR granted him a waiver to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup and he met all requirements. Busch would go on to win five Sprint Cup races including the finale in Homestead clinching the title to cap off one the biggest comeback stories in sports.  After his return Busch also won six Xfinity races and two Truck series races.

This season Busch has three Sprint Cup wins, five wins in the Xfinity series and three in the Camping World Truck Series.

Others racers receiving nominations were four-time IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, three-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi and two-time defending NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock champion Erica Enders-Stevens.

The awards show, which celebrates the year’s best athletes and moments in sports, was hosted by WWE star/actor John Cena. Athletes were nominated by a committee with winners determined by fan vote in most categories via the internet.

NASCAR’s 2014 Sprint Cup champion, Kevin Harvick won the 2015 Best Driver ESPY. Past NASCAR Best Driver Award winners include Dale Jarrett and Bobby Labonte (one each), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2004),Tony Stewart (3 times),  and Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson with four each.

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