The NASCAR season hasn’t started yet but Kyle Busch already has a notch in the win column.
On Saturday, Busch, 32, wheeled his way to his first Winter Showdown win at Kern County Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif.
The victory marks Busch’s 16th Marquee Super Late Model win.
"It was an awesome day -- I didn't think it was going to turn out this way after practice on Thursday, but the guys really went to work on this Mobil 1 Toyota Camry,” Busch said. “I can't say enough about everybody at Rowdy Manufacturing - this is a KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) car, a Rowdy car. Our Hamner Racing engine was so strong underneath the hood today. Thank you to Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development). Thanks to all the fans out here today at Kern County Raceway -- you guys are awesome coming out and supporting your local short track.
“I can't say enough about Wayne and Connie Spears -- they do an amazing job for the West Coast and what they do to keep the SRL going and everybody at the Southwest Series. It was a lot of fun racing against Derek Thorn, Buddy Shepherd, Noah (Gragson) there for a little while and everybody else we had to race with today. It was a blast -- I had fun. I love these cars and was able to go out there and have a great day."
Busch qualified the No. 51 KBM Super Late Model fourth but quickly moved through the field. By Lap 26, Busch moved up to second then hunted down Thorn over the next 37 circuits. He took the lead from Thorn on Lap 63 and held the point until checkers on Lap 300. Busch’s advantage over second-place Shepherd was 1.783-seconds at the line for his first victory in the Golden State.
"It means the world. It's something that I am passionate about -- I love short track racing and the Super Late Models, they are my favorite,” Busch said. “I like traveling across the country and racing these things - we've won in Michigan, we've won in Canada, won in Indiana, Florida, Georgia, everywhere. I can't say that I've ever won in California -- so this is my first time in California winning with one of these cars. That's pretty awesome to do it here in the Spears Winter Showdown. It's a lot of fun and there is great competition out here as well - these guys aren't slouches by any means.
“We had our stuff really hooked up today…It’s a blast to come out with all of our partners and put on a great show for the fans.”
Since Busch founded his KBM Late Model team in 2007, he has wins in the Wisconsin All-Star 100 at the Milwaukee Mile (2008), Red Bud 300 at Anderson Speedway (2009), Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway (2009), Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (2009, 2017), SpeedFest at Lanier National Speedway (2009, 2010), SpeedFest at Watermelon Capital Speedway (2012), Rowdy 251 at Berlin Raceway (2010, 2011, 2012), Slinger Nationals at Slinger Super Speedway (2011), the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway (2011), Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond International Raceway (2013), the Howie Lettow Memorial at the Milwaukee Mile (2013) and now, the 2018 Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway.