It's not where you start, it's where you finish Kyle

Another win this season is just what the No. 51 ToyotaCare Racing team needs to stay in the hunt for the owner's championship

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 15, 2013) - Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway is a track where typically you don't need to start at the front to finish at the front. Kyle Busch has proven that over his five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, posting an average finish of 5.6 - including wins in 2009 and 2010, despite owning an average starting position of 17.4. Busch will be in search of Truck Series win number three at the famed track Saturday and series win number five this season, driving his No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra in the fred's 250.

Pit stop for Kyle Busch
Pit stop for Kyle Busch

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Busch has four career wins across NASCAR's top three divisions at 'Dega', two in the Truck Series and one each in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. His last win at the high-banked superspeedway was one of the most exciting races in Truck Series history. After "the big one" set up a dash to the checkered flag. On the final lap coming off Turn 4, Aric Almirola led Busch and Johnny Sauter down the frontstretch. The trio went three-wide at the stripe with "Rowdy" bringing home the victory by .002-seconds, the closest margin of victory in the Truck Series since electronic scoring was implemented.

Another win this season is just what the No. 51 ToyotaCare Racing team needs to stay in the hunt for the owner's championship. Despite leading the series with four wins and nine top-five finishes, including four runner-up results, a pair of DNF's early in the season put the team in a big hole. Eleven races into the season, the team was in third place, 53 points behind the No. 88 team. Over the last six races, sparked by wins in each of Busch's last two starts (Bristol Motor Speedway 8/21/13 and Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet 9/13/13) and a runner-up finish by rookie Chad Hackenbracht at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont., the team has moved into second place in the standings and currently trail the No. 88 squad by 26 points.

As he has done at Talladega in the Truck Series, Busch has proven that it's not where you start, but where you finish that matters this year in trucks. The Las Vegas native has yet to earn a pole in the Truck Series this season, in fact his best qualifying effort was a fourth-place starting position at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May. Although he hasn't started out front, that is where he usually ends up. Despite competing in just eight of the 17 races this season, Busch ranks third in laps led (287), having led seven or more laps in each of his starts.

So when qualifying is complete on Saturday, don't be worried if the No. 51 Tundra doesn't start up front, it's where you finish that matters. The talented wheelman will find a way to make it to the front and there is a good chance that is where he will end up. "Rowdy" has finished inside the top-two in six of his eight Truck Series starts this season and in his career has finished first or second in exactly half of his 112 career starts.

Kyle Busch, Driver of the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra:

Would you rather be in first or second when you take the white flag Saturday? "I think in the past you always heard people talking about wanting to be running second at a superspeedway race with one to go and then you come off Turn 4 and slingshot your way to the win. With all the big accidents that seem to happen on the final lap -- especially in the Truck Series where maybe the guys running these races don't have as much experience in the draft or with the tandem whichever plays out at the end of the race -- I think you are probably better off being in the lead. At Daytona earlier this year I thought I was right where I wanted to be -- running second behind (Johnny) Sauter just biding my time, waiting to make my move at the end -- then all the sudden a wreck broke out behind us and I never got the chance to make the pass."

Rudy Fugle, Crew Chief of the No. 51 NCWTS ToyotaCare Tundra:

How much will the setup vary for Talladega compared to what you ran at Daytona? "For Talladega, it is more about drag and being trimmed out, where Daytona you have to handle a little better. It still has to drive well at Talladega, but you're looking more for raw speed and being able to suck up and draft well. We are bringing the same truck we raced at Daytona and haven't made any major changes -- it's the same body with some minor changes to our shock and spring package that I feel has made the truck better. We came up just short at Daytona -- hopefully we can come get a little redemption with a win on Saturday. We have some ground to make up in the owner's championship and this is a place where you definitely can do that if you can survive and have a strong run."


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Johnny Sauter , Eric Gilbert , Aric Almirola , Chad Hackenbracht , Kyle Busch
Article type Preview
Tags busch, ncwts, talladega, toyota