HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Even if Kyle Busch doesn't listen, he still hears it all.
You didn't deserve it. Doesn't count. You shouldn't even have been there.
They are the sort of verbal daggers his detractors have been stabbing him with ever since he won his first NASCAR Cup Series championship, in 2015. Of course, Busch missed 11 races that year as he recovered from a broken right leg and left foot sustained in a crash in the season-opening Xfinity race at Daytona. When NASCAR granted him a medical waiver that left him a path to make the Chase, Busch made the most of it and rode all the way to the championship.
And right about then is when those arguments started materializing.
"You still hear it, but it doesn't bother me," Busch said Thursday. "Trophy's still sitting in the shop, so ain't nobody taking that from me. They can make as much of an argument as they want to, but fact of the matter is, NASCAR and all the record books and everybody else will still say 2015 champion, Kyle Busch."
Busch isn't satisfied with just the one title though, and now he's on the cusp of that second championship. The difference this time around?
Nobody can tell him he doesn't belong.
For eight, nine, maybe even 10 months after that initial championship, Busch kept the trophy at his home, a daily reminder of what he'd accomplished. Then after his shop was remodeled, he moved it there -- along with his winning No. 18 car -- to give it a more permanent home.
But there has been an added benefit to that, too.
"I don't need a friendly reminder of a championship each and every day," Busch said. "I know there's another one to go get.