It was only weeks ago Kyle Busch was bemoaning his runner-up finishes and lack of a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory this season.
Now, he has the opportunity to match the longest winning streak of his career.
Busch followed up his win at Texas with a victory last weekend in the rain-delayed race at Bristol, Tenn., offering him the chance to make it three-in-a-row Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.
Busch won three consecutive races once before – during his 2015 Cup Series championship season with consecutive victories at Kentucky, New Hampshire and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
He narrowly missed a fourth consecutive win the following week at Pocono when his gas tank ran dry while leading on the white-flag lap.
Richmond is a track Busch personally enjoys but his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team has had trouble getting a handle on it in recent seasons.
Busch’s crew chief, Adam Stevens, admitted as much after Monday’s win.
“If I had to pick a track that just boggles my mind, I think Richmond would be at the top of my list. We just can't seem to get it right there,” Stevens said. “The couple times that we were pretty good, there was always somebody who was light years better.
“We ran second a couple races ago to (Matt Kenseth), and we had eight or nine seconds on third place, and Kenseth had at least that much on us leading. And then we go back there and think that we’re really smart and we learned something and barely finish on the lead lap it seems like.
“I’m not going to make any predictions at all about Richmond other than we’re going to swing for the fence, I can tell you that.”
Along with four series wins at Richmond, Busch has amassed 15 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes in 25 career starts.
Additionally, Busch is tops among active drivers with an average finishing position of 7.4 at Richmond. Next best is Kevin Harvick’s average finish of 8.4. Busch has completed all but one of the 10,026 laps he’s attempted in his 25 starts.
However, his most recent victory came in 2012. And he hasn’t finished better than ninth since the 2016 spring race.
“We haven't quite been as strong as we wanted to be at Richmond the last few times. I don't know what we're kind of missing there,” Busch said. “I don't think it's one of Adam's best race tracks. I think it's one of mine.
“I don't know, it used to be easy. We used to show up and we used to change this little thing and this little thing and we were fast, myself and Denny (Hamlin) included, and then the last few times there, we haven't been great as a company.
“Matt Kenseth was really fast there a couple years ago, but I’d like to think that we can (win three in a row). We’ll give it our best."