Busch Looks to Get Back on Track

Kyle Busch

"We’ve had a lot of success at Bristol, but not last year." (Photo: Getty Images)

Kyle Busch hopes to add to his impressive Bristol Motor Speedway resume with a win in Sunday’s Food City 500.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has won five Sprint Cup races at Bristol, including four of the last eight. He’s has also recorded seven top five finishes and 11 top 10s in 16 career Sprint Cup starts in “Thunder Valley,” a track where Busch didn’t always flourish.

But after finishing of 28th and 33rd in his rookie year of 2005, Busch caught fire and figured out the high-banked, Tennessee short track.

“I’m not exactly sure what makes me so good at Bristol,” said Busch. “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.”

While Busch has had many successes at Bristol during his career, he’s most proud of one particular accomplishment.

“The one that stands out the most for me is August 2010 – being able to do the sweep,” he said. “We won the Truck race on Wednesday night, backed it up with the Nationwide race Friday and took home the Cup race on Saturday night.”

Make no mistake, Busch still considers Bristol to be one of the most challenging tracks in NASCAR even with all of his success there. In his eyes, there’s nothing easy about tackling the difficult concrete track.

“I think the most challenging aspect of Bristol is just how difficult it is to transition through from the straightaways to the corners, back to the straightaways and have your car set up in order to do all that,” he explained. “Sometimes you can be really loose getting in, or you can be really tight in the middle – you just seem to never be able to get a good-flowing car that works well there.

“Drivers have to do a lot of manipulation with the racetrack with their car in order to try to make the best of it.”

Despite his Bristol prowess, things didn’t go very well last year there for Busch. He was 32nd and sixth in his two outings, a pair of very un Busch-like outings to be sure.

He’s hoping last week’s fourth place finish in Las Vegas, when he was forced to rally back from an early pit road speeding penalty, will provide an extra boost this weekend in race number four of the Sprint Cup Series season.

“We’ve had a lot of success at Bristol, but not last year,” said Busch. “We’ve really hit a road block there for some reason, but things are different with the track changes last fall and the fact that we’ll be working with a new car this time around, as well. We have to get back on our horse a little bit and this is a good way to do it.

“We’ve had a tough start to the year and a good finish at Vegas, but it’s a long year to go and we have an uphill battle to climb, so we’ll just continue to claw out of it.”

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