Kyle Busch has won just about everything in NASCAR but there’s one major piece missing from his long list of accomplishments, a win in the Daytona 500.
The two-time and defending Cup Series champion would like nothing more to check off “The Great American Race” on his bucket list and add a Harley J. Earl Trophy to his collection. He’s come close in the past, most notably last season when he came home second to Denny Hamlin in a 1-2-3 finish for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“It’s frustrating when you are oh so close,” Busch said. “Last year I think is the closest one that I’ve ever been to that slipped away. There was just too many restarts at the end of the race and I was trying to control them the best I could. Denny got a good restart on the second to last one and got to my outside with some help from behind and he cleared me off of (Turn) 2 and the caution came out. He was then in control of the next one and I didn’t get the same restart help.
“When you look back on it, I hope not to look back on it after I’m all said and done and say, ‘dam I never won one’ and that would be pretty disappointing.”
Dating back to his first Cup title in 2015, Busch has won at least four races in one season and 27 in that span. He won at Daytona in the summer in 2008 and has won at every track on the schedule with the exception of the newly added road course at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This year will be Busch’s 15th start in the 500.
“Certainly years right now, prime years, whatever, it’s certainly motivating to get out there and go do it and get it done and to be able to put that one aside,” Busch said. “Yes it’s skill, yes it’s car, and it’s a lot of luck. You have to have everything to kind of go your way. It’s just the way it is in this day in age.”
Busch’s quest for a Daytona 500 win will begin in Thursday night’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel (MRN, 6 p.m. ET) that will set the starting lineup. He will start third in the second race after posting the sixth-best speed in qualifying.