Kyle Busch Going for Three in a Row at ACS
March 15, 2016 | 4:13 P.M. EST
“I’m hoping we can get our M&M’S Camry back to victory lane there and win three races in a row – at least in the races I’ve been able to run in.” (Photo: Getty Images)
After winning back-to-back races at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California in 2013 and 2014 – both in dramatic fashion – the record book shows that Brad Keselowski ended Busch’s winning streak at the track by winning last year’s lone NASCAR Sprint Cup event at the 2-mile oval.
But what the record book doesn’t show is that Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, sat out last year’s Fontana race while recovering from injuries sustained in an accident in February at Daytona International Speedway.
So as Busch and the M&M’S team head back to Southern California for Sunday’s Auto Club 400, the Las Vegas native will be shooting for his third win in a row at the track located approximately 50 miles east of Los Angeles.
“The finishes of both of those races were pretty exciting. Of course, I won both so that makes it even better for me,” said Busch. “The track is just down the road from Toyota Racing Development (TRD) headquarters and our wins there were the first two Sprint Cup wins for them at their hometown track.”
With three wins to his name there already, Busch’s Sprint Cup record at Fontana is impressive. Since scoring his maiden victory there in September 2005, he has rattled off 12 top-10 finishes in 17 races. Busch also has six Xfinity Series wins at Fontana – October 2008, February 2009 and 2010, October 2010, March 2011 and 2013 – at the 2-mile oval, which included a weekend sweep in 2013.
“It’s really a hard racetrack to get ahold of especially when it’s hot and the sun is out,” Busch said. “There are two completely different types of racing when you run the top versus the bottom groove. You can run from the top to the bottom, but when you run the bottom, you really feel like you’re puttering around the racetrack.”
“You feel like you aren’t making up any time on the bottom. But when you are running the top groove, you feel like you’re getting the job done,” he said.
In Sprint Cup competition, Busch led a race-high 125 laps at Fontana in 2013 and brought home the checkered flag in dramatic fashion as he slid to the outside of the dueling Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin coming off turn four on the final lap. In his last trip to Fontana in 2014, Busch was not nearly as dominant, leading just five laps. However, known as one of the premiere Sprint Cup drivers when it comes to restarts, he showed the field why that day. He restarted fourth late in the race and held off a hard-charging Kyle Larson to bring home his second Fontana win in a row.
Looking ahead to this weekend, Busch and the M&M’S team figure to be among the contenders once again. Busch is the only driver to post top-five finishes in all four Sprint Cup races thus far this season, most recently coming home fourth last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Dating back to last year’s Sprint Cup championship season, Busch is riding an eight-race streak of top-five finishes.
So as Busch and the M&M’S team head back to Southern California to finish off the final race of 2016’s West Coast swing, Busch will not only hope to add another top-five to the resume, but this time celebrate his first victory of the season at a place where he’s already quite familiar with victory lane.
“It’s a fast racetrack and you just have to be able carry a lot of speed through the corners,” Busch said. “You’re in the corner for a long time but, the more speed you carry through the turn, the better it makes your straightaways.”
Motor Racing Network - “The Voice of NASCAR” - will have live coverage of Sunday’s Auto Club 400 from Auto Club Speedway beginning at 2:30 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com and on the MRN App.