Kyle Busch can earn a spot in the Championship 4 with what would be his second victory of the season at Kansas Speedway.
Busch won the NASCAR Cup Series’ first race at Kansas in May when he took the checkered flag to lock himself into the Playoffs. Should he complete the season sweep at the 1.5-mile track, Busch will advance to the Phoenix finale and have an opportunity to win a third series championship.
“We obviously won earlier this year at Kansas and really look forward to going back again this weekend,” Busch said about Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN). “It’s been a good place for us more recently. Excited to have the opportunity to go back there and run up front all day and mind our P’s and Q’s and get some points.
“Scoring a win would be even bigger, but ultimately having another solid day to keep our point total up will be important, as well.”
Busch’s point about running better at Kansas of late is well taken. That was not the case early in his Cup career when Kansas was in many ways a thorn in the Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s side.
Busch has collected two top-five finishes in a row in the fall 2014 and 2015 Kansas races before he broke through for his first Cup Series win at there in May 2016. That’s when the repaved and reconfigured track surface finally started to wear and become more agreeable to Busch’s driving style. He now has 11 top-10 finishes in his last 13 starts there, a streak that at one point included five consecutive top-fives.
“We finished in the top-10 a lot there over the last 12 or 13 races,” Busch said. “We seem to have gotten a setup or a hold of this place, I’d say, and hopefully we don’t screw that up this time around and we can continue our strong runs and our fast pace of being able to have a shot to win.”
Certainly Busch’s recent success has put Kansas much higher on his list of tracks on the Cup Series schedule. But there are other things in and around the weekend Busch looks forward to as well making the twice a year trips to the Sunflower State some of his favorites.
“Kansas has been a good place for our sport,” Busch said. “You know the crowd, the reception, the racetrack, the community has really built up around the racetrack there over the last 10 years, or so. It’s been a lot of fun to see all that happen and I’m looking forward to the race.
“It’s been a great racetrack for us, lately. We’ve had some good runs there once the track aged. We’ve kind of seemed to maybe have figured out the place a little bit better.”