KYLE BUSCH Playing Favorites HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 13, 2010) - Statistically speaking, Kyle Busch's best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racetracks are Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. The driver of the No.
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 13, 2010) - Statistically speaking, Kyle Busch's best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racetracks are Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.
The driver of the No. 18 M&M's Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has compiled an impressive six wins, 16 top-fives, and 19 top-10 finishes in 24 total starts at the two short tracks during his six-year career.
But while the talented 25-year-old admits he's grown quite fond of both Bristol and Richmond, the track he considers his absolute favorite is one where he has yet to score a Sprint Cup win - Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, site of Saturday night's Bank of America 500.
Ever since his childhood in Las Vegas, some of Busch's favorite race-watching memories came during Charlotte's traditional Coca-Cola 600 and All-Star race, dreaming that one day he, too, could be the one hoisting the trophy at one of stock car racing's most hallowed grounds.
In his 13 previous Sprint Cup starts over the past six-plus seasons, Busch has managed to enjoy plenty of success the 1.5-mile Charlotte oval nicknamed the "Beast of the Southeast." He's currently riding a streak of six consecutive top-10 finishes in points-paying races, dating back to October 2007. In addition to the Sprint Cup top-10 streak, Busch has captured six NASCAR Nationwide Series wins, including five out of the last six, (May 2004, 2005 and 2008, October 2008 and 2009, and May 2010) and three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins (2005, 2006 and 2010).
Of course, while the Sprint Cup top-10 streak and those nine Nationwide and Truck Series wins at Charlotte are certainly something to be proud of, there's still that childhood dream to fulfill. Coming off last weekend's devastating 35th-place finish at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., that all but eliminated Busch from this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, there's no better time than the present to finally post that long-awaited maiden victory at his favorite track, which is located just down the road from his current home in Mooresville, N.C.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
You've won at 14 different racetracks, but you badly want to win the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte someday. Would winning the October race at Charlotte also be feather in your cap?
"Winning at Charlotte Motor Speedway, since it is my favorite track, would be really special since I've been able to win there in other series and have been close a lot in the Cup car. It seems like the month of May at Charlotte just hasn't liked me too much. We got to win in the Truck Series race and Nationwide race in the spring, so I'm hoping we can change that in October and get a Sprint Cup win. There are plenty of other tracks that we need to win at, too, but there's no doubt it would be big."
You've said in the past that Charlotte is your favorite track. Is there any particular reason why?
"Charlotte is my favorite racetrack for a lot of reasons. Just growing up watching races on TV, I loved watching the All-Star race under the lights and the 600 with all the sparks flying and all the guys going after hard-fought, hard-racing wins. The Nationwide Series has been good to me there. The Truck Series has been pretty good to me there, too. But a Cup Series win has eluded me there. I finished third in the 500 (fall Charlotte race) in 2007 and third in the 600 in May. It's been kind of a struggle there for me until recently, so we're definitely getting closer than I was back when I first started racing at Charlotte. I think I've only finished three races there without having problems or without wrecking or having something happen. In that race, I was two or three laps down, in 32nd or something like that. I think I have something like six top-10 finishes in a row there going into this weekend, so I hope my luck is turning around a bit."
What do you think about racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where you generally practice during the day, qualify at night, and then race at night?
"Charlotte's a tricky track because we practice during the day and then we race at night, so all the practice time you get, the track's really hot, it's really slick and obviously it's pretty slow. A lot of stuff changes when you go into the nighttime - the way the track is, the way the loads are, the way the speed is. For us, it's fun. I enjoy Charlotte. It's a neat place for me to go race at."
What's the biggest difference from the spring race to the fall race at Charlotte?
"It's a little bit warmer in the spring and summer months - in the May months versus where we are now in October. It's still one of those neat facilities that we get to go to two or three times - if you count the All-Star race - in the year. I like going there. It's close to home for everybody, so it's not too far out of bed."
You took a big hit in the points after last week's blown engine at California, so how are you going to approach the rest of the season?
"I think you approach it like we have all year, which is to race hard and race to win and try to get our M&M's Camry to victory lane again before the year is out. We still have a lot of good racetracks coming up for us, so we still have an opportunity for a lot of good finishes, if not wins. You know I've never had a problem doing that. We just need to go out there and race hard like we always have, despite what the points are."