KYLE BUSCH Playing Favorites HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 7, 2008) -- Everyone seems to have favorite things in life. Maybe it's a favorite vacation spot, restaurant, or even a favorite candy. M&M'sÂ® Brand Chocolate Candies, perhaps? That...
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 7, 2008) -- Everyone seems to have favorite things in life. Maybe it's a favorite vacation spot, restaurant, or even a favorite candy. M&M's® Brand Chocolate Candies, perhaps?
That being said, race car drivers are no different, as most have a favorite race track among the 22 different venues the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits during its 36-race schedule.
The good news for Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's/Susan G. Komen for the Cure Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is the next stop is his favorite -- Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS) in Concord, N.C., site of Saturday night's Bank of America 500.
While M&M's will be on board as the primary sponsor this weekend, Busch's No. 18 car will feature a pink paint scheme to help raise awareness for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation during Breast Cancer Awareness month.
If the talented 23-year old's last two Sprint Cup finishes at LMS are any indication, chances are the bright-colored car will be somewhere near the front of the pack. Busch notched his career-high at LMS last October with a third-place run, then followed it up in May's Coca-Cola 600 by matching that same result.
Although the Las Vegas native has three NASCAR Nationwide Series and two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series wins at LMS, he had six Sprint Cup finishes of 25th or worse at his favorite track prior to last year's Bank of America 500. In addition to the recent back-to-back third-place finishes, Busch captured his first career Sprint Cup pole for May's Coca-Cola 600.
Now that he has those third-place finishes and the pole to his credit at LMS, there's one more thing that would complete his resume at the track that sits within the NASCAR mecca of Charlotte, N.C. -- a Sprint Cup victory.
KYLE BUSCH: Driver, No. 18 M&M's/Susan G. Komen for the Cure Toyota Camry at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.
You've said in the past that Charlotte is your favorite track. Is there any particular reason why?
"Charlotte is still probably my favorite race track. 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. But a Cup Series win has eluded me there. I finished third in the 500 last fall, but besides that I don't think I've finished in the top-20. It's been kind of a struggle there for me. I think I've only finished one race 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. We fought back and finished in the top-five in the first race there, so I hope my luck is turning around a bit at Charlotte. Before May, I always wrecked when it was still daytime and I do the same thing at Homestead."
You tested at Charlotte a few weeks back to prepare for this weekend's race. Did you learn anything that you could apply this weekend?
"A little bit. Any time you get track time with this new car, we learn a little bit since getting a grip on it is a work in progress. We tried a lot of the same things and a lot of it just validated what we knew that worked or what we knew that didn't work. But any time you get track time, it helps the learning process with this car, overall."
Does what you learned in the Charlotte test a few weeks ago apply to some other places that are still left on the schedule?
"You just learn what you can here and we can take it to some of the other mile-and-a-half tracks. There are things that work and there are things that don't work. Some of it translates because some of the big changes that work here will work in Atlanta and Texas. We ran well at both of those race tracks earlier this year, so I'm hoping we can have a strong run at Lowe's, but also at those other places to finish the season."
How much can you learn in the daytime testing for a night race?
"You've got to learn what the daytime is going to do in the night time. Because you practice during the day, you need to know what things you're working on during the day and how your car is working during the day so when it goes to night, you know what to expect during the race. Doing the two sessions there a few weeks ago, we got to test during the day and the night, so that helps us for this weekend, but also Atlanta and Texas that start during the day but end up finishing under the lights during the Chase."
What's the focus for the rest of the season now that the Chase is through Talladega, which everyone says is a big wild card race?
"It's no different for us than it was going to Talladega. Just like I felt going into last week, realistically, the amount of points is way too much to overcome. It doesn't mean I'm not going to try on the race track and not do everything I can in my power to work my way back up in the points. We're really not thinking about where we are in points, but just focusing on running well and seeing where that leaves us at the end of the season. We have a lot of good tracks for us coming up in the next several weeks, so I'm just hoping we can have some things fall our way a bit more. We were in the hunt at Talladega and almost made it through the big wreck. There are just a lot of different variables that have happened out of our control, but I know the guys are working as hard as they ever have."