Amanda Vincent, NASCAR correspondent
Last weekend's Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway may have been a homecoming race, of sorts, for Las Vegas native Kyle Busch. But Bristol Motor Speedway looks to be the track where Busch feels most at home, if statistics are any indication. Bristol just happens to be the locale for the Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, scheduled for Sunday.
To say Busch has dominated Sprint Cup Series action at BMS in recent years would be a gross understatement. The driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota has driven into victory lane five times, all since 2007.
When they changed the track to this current surface, I just really took to it right away.
"I'm not exactly sure what makes me so good at Bristol," Busch said. "I've just had a lot of success there, but I've also had some misfortune there, too. Ever since I got through my rookie year, I've just taken a liking to the place."
Busch's first couple of Sprint Cup attempts at conquering Bristol were nothing to write home about. In his first full season on the Cup circuit, 2005, Busch posted worse than lackluster finishes of 28th and 33rd. But once he got that rookie season behind him, he did, indeed, figure Bristol out.
In the time since, Busch has finished outside the top-10 in Sprint Cup races at Bristol only twice -- a 17th-place finish in the March 2008 event and 14th in the March race last year.
Busch gives some of the credit for his Bristol prowess to older brother, Kurt Busch. Kurt had his own period of BMS Sprint Cup dominance before his younger brother took over. Like Kyle, Kurt also have five Sprint Cup Series wins at Bristol Motor Speedway to his credit, the last one coming during the season before Kyle's first -- 2006.
"Of course, I've been able to get some help from my brother," Kyle said. "He's always been really, really good there."
The track was reconfigured between the two yearly Bristol NASCAR race weekends (March and August) in 2007 to create variable banking. That reconfiguration seemed to usher out the era of Kurt's dominance and ring in Kyle's reign over the track.
"When they changed the track to this current surface, I just really took to it right away," Kyle said. "I really liked it, and I've been fast there, but also, I've had great race cars from Joe Gibbs Racing. "
Old Bristol or new Bristol, figuring that track out is something that just seems to run in the Busch family, handed down from older Busch brother to younger.