When it comes to regret, it’s unlikely that Jimmie Johnson holds the distinction of being the most disappointed driver in the NASCAR offseason.
Sure, Johnson had a legitimate shot at a sixth Sprint Cup championship before mechanical woes thwarted his charge in the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Brad Keselowski sailed off with his first title.
But as difficult as it was for Johnson to accept defeat, his anguish can’t compare to the sting experienced by Kurt Busch.
Here was Keselowski, 28, being feted by the NASCAR community after driving the revered Blue Deuce – Busch’s former car – to its first championship.
Yes, this was the same driver that when he arrived at Penske Racing three years ago, Busch claimed couldn’t contribute the level of feedback the organization needed to perform at a top level. This was the same driver that posted more wins in the last two seasons than Busch has in the last five. And this was the same driver that delivered Roger Penske his first Sprint Cup.
If you don’t believe that last year’s discomfiture will fuel his drive to return to championship form, then you don’t know Kurt Busch.