Victory in the Forecast For Busch?

Kyle Busch

It’s been raining wins for Kyle Busch this season. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has made nine starts in the Nationwide Series and won six times. (Photo: Getty Images)

For most, the weather forecast for the first half of the weekend ahead in Dover, Del., shows clear skies and warm temperatures.

But Nationwide Series competitors heading into Saturday’s 5-hour ENERGY 200 are looking at something quite different.  They see “cloudy with a chance of Kyle” in their forecast.

It’s been raining wins for Kyle Busch this season.  The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has made nine starts in the Nationwide Series and gone to Victory Lane six times … and finished second and third in two of the three races he hasn’t won.

Busch’s No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota is one of 38 entries for the 11th race of the 2013 season.  He’s a three-time Dover winner looking to become a four-time winner at "The Monster Mile."

"This is a favorite track for most in the garage because it’s so unique, with the concrete and high banking," said Busch, who swept both Dover NNS races in 2010 and also won in 2008.  "It’s fast and fun to maneuver, but challenging too.  You have to keep up with it."

Keeping up with Busch has been the challenge for Nationwide Series regulars in 2013.  Only Regan Smith and Sam Hornish Jr. have won.  They’re the two drivers atop the point standings one-third of the way through the season.

Success at Dover in recent years is not just about Busch.  It’s also about his team.  JGR has won 7 of the last 11 Nationwide Series races there going back to 2007.

"JGR has run well, sweeping both events in 2012," Busch said, noting Joey Logano’s two wins last season, "so we have good notes to return with."

Busch also has a crew chief who knows the way to Victory Lane at Dover.  Adam Stevens was calling the shots last year for Logano’s twin wins.

"Dover is challenging because of the concrete surface and the way tires wear out," Stevens said.  "You have to set up your car to run fast through the corners, but also to maneuver easily as traffic can be an issue.  Kyle has proven himself on this track and I’ve had some success, too.  Our team has gotten itself into a good rhythm and we’d like to continue."

Busch is running all three races at Dover – Friday’s Camping World Truck Series event, Saturday’s 5-hour ENERGY 200 and Sunday’s FedEx 400 Sprint Cup Series headliner … hoping to duplicate the three-race weekend sweep he engineered at Bristol in August 2010.

Among those standing in his way are Smith, the current points leader, and Hornish, his No. 1 challenger.

"Dover is really Bristol on steroids," says Smith, who carries a 29-point advantage over Hornish into Saturday’s race.  "The speeds make it a bit intimidating.  You’re going so fast and with the high banking, if you make a mistake you’re going to hit something.  It requires you to be on top of your game all the time, not make mistakes and be smooth."

Ditto for Hornish.

"It’s a place where the driver truly has a sense of how fast the car is traveling around the track," he said.  "The banking, the concrete and the shape of the track combine to make it challenging – but it’s also fun to race on."

NASCAR Nationwide Series teams will open practice at Dover International Speedway on Friday at 12:40 p.m. (ET) and qualify Saturday morning, just hours before the green flag drops.  Motor Racing Network – “The Voice of NASCAR” – will have live coverage of the 5-hour ENERGY 200 beginning at 2 p.m. with live streaming at MotorRacingNetwork.com.

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