SONOMA, Calif. – After two practice sessions at Sonoma Raceway, Kyle Busch spent an evening icing his surgically repaired left foot.
He repeated the routine the night before Sunday's race, all in an effort to minimize pain and give himself the best chance to pick up a much-needed victory.
Only five races after returning from a broken right leg and shattered left foot, Busch made his way to victory lane to continue what already has been an impressive comeback. He chased down Jimmie Johnson to win the Toyota-Save Mart 350 on Sunday at Sonoma Raceway for his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in 35 races.
The next goal for Busch? Cracking the top 30 in points to earn a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
"Now I don't have to bust my butt and overdrive the car every week in order to get wins," Busch said. "Now I can just concentrate on running top-three, top-five, top-eight — just getting those finishes and points.
"If we can do that, the points have got to come and fall on the line."
Busch was injured when he crashed into a concrete wall on Feb. 21. He missed 11 races but recovered far faster than anyone expected and returned to racing late last month.
NASCAR granted him a waiver upon his return that made him Chase-eligible should he qualify, and Sunday's victory is the first step.
But he still must rank inside the top 30 in points to make the Chase. He moved up from 39th to 37th with the victory.
Kurt Busch finished second as the brothers notched their first 1-2 finish in Sprint Cup.
"I was trying to think if we've ever finished 1-2, and we did it today. That's a pretty special moment," Kurt Busch said. "I've got over 500 starts. I know he's over 300. Can you imagine, 800 starts between the two of us, we almost have 30 wins each, and that's the first time we've ever finished 1-2?
"I now wish I would have gotten up there and moved him."
Busch's win at Sonoma was aided by a terrific restart with seven laps remaining. On fresh tires, he picked his way past five cars and set his sights on leader Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson, who did not pit during the final caution, was a sitting duck for drivers on new tires.
"I was just surprised how fast they got through traffic and got to my bumper," Johnson said. "Tires were definitely the call, but we had a strategy that we were going to stick to. We were one caution away from it working out just right."