#3 Hurt the sport: The waiver rule.
Kyle Busch is a very polarizing figure in the sport of NASCAR and he only became more so after winning The Monster Energy Cup Series title in 2015. While the accomplishment was well deserved, especially since Busch came back from two fractures in his legs to win five races and make the playoffs, fans were upset over the fact that he won the championship without competing in every race that season.
Busch was injured during an Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway, where The Joe Gibbs Racing drivers was sent sliding through the infield grass after contact and hit a wall head on. Unlike the safer barriers that were installed by NASCAR throughout the outside wall of each track, the infield wall was not a safer, which is believed to be why the wreck was so bad.
Busch sat out the first 11 races of the season due to the injury, but quickly rebounded with a win at Sonoma, which would qualify him for the playoffs if he stayed in the top-25 in points. While Busch fans were happy that their favorite driver was still allowed to qualify for the playoffs after the injury, other fans thought it was wrong to drivers that had competed all season long to make the postseason.
NASCAR created the rule in 2015 in an effort to help drivers preserve their health and not rush back to racing after an injury, but it was critically panned by angry fans anyway. In the end, Kyle Busch will forever go down as NASCAR’s first waiver champion and while he did deserve to win that year, it was still a black mark on the sport’s history and seemed very illegitimate as well.