Sunday’s Super Bowl LI provided one of the most-thrilling come-from-behind wins ever in football, with the New England Patriots putting up 31 unanswered points to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime. That made us think: What are some of the best comeback stories from the world of motorsport?
We looked back at the last 10 years of NASCAR, Formula 1 and IndyCar, and made a list of the top-two comebacks from each.
Jenson Button: 2011 Canadian Grand Prix
The most-talented racers love racing in the wet, as it essentially eliminates any power advantage another car might have. Changing conditions, however, can catch out even the best drivers. Button statistically was the second-best F1 drivers in 2011, but nothing went right for the Brit during the first half of Canadian Grand Prix: He crashed with his then-teammate Lewis Hamilton and was in last place on two separate occasions. But the McLaren driver persevered to beat the dominant Red Bull Racing RB7 cars to the checkered flag.
Sebastian Vettel: 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix
Vettel’s misfortunes in the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix also were a result of changing weather conditions. Starting on slick tires with the track still damp, the German driver made a poor start, got caught up in the mayhem at Turn 1 and ended up facing the wrong way once the dust settled. Then with Red Bull, Vettel needed to finish in the points to clinch his third of four consecutive world titles. And, despite dropping to the back of the field on the first lap, he did just that.
Kyle Busch: 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
The story of Busch’s first Cup championship is truly incredible. Busch missed 11 races after a massive crash in the Daytona 500, meaning he needed to be granted a waiver by NASCAR to be deemed eligable for the Chase. Not only did Busch finish the regular season with three wins, putting him inside the top-30 in points to qualify for the Chase, he also won the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to claim the title.
Tony Stewart: 2016 Toyota – Save Mart 350
Stewart headed to Sonoma Raceway for the final time of his NASCAR career on an 84-race drought. Late in the race he again found himself well out of contention for a win, so he made a daring strategy call to stay out under caution. The plan paid off when another late-race caution saw Stewart assume the lead. Denny Hamlin caught up to the No. 14 with one lap remaining and passed him for the lead, but Stewart, on his farewell tour, was determined to get back in front of the No. 11.
James Hinchcliffe: 2016 Indianapolis 500
During practice for the 2015 Indianapolis 500, Hinchcliffe had a horrific crash that doctors say caused his heart to stop before reaching the operating room, according to Entertainment Tonight. So, while “The Mayor of Hinchtown” might not have won the 2016 Indy 500, taking pole position and finishing P3 was an amazing achievement.
Josef Newgarden: 2016 Iowa Corn 300
Newgarden didn’t just win the Iowa Corn 300, he dominated. The 26-year-old led 282 laps, which is an IndyCar record for the most laps led in a single race. Remarkably, Newgarden did so with 13 screws in his clavicle and a hurt hand, injuries he sustained the last time he raced on an oval before heading to Iowa.
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