The final finishing position in the box score didn’t nearly tell the story of Kyle Busch’s day the last time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visited New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon this past July.
After scoring his ninth career Sprint Cup pole, the driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) jumped out to an early lead. But a pit-road speeding ticket, coupled with pit-stop issues, put the team in a hole early. Despite the issues, Busch & Company rallied back into the lead by lap 197.
But just as Busch hit pit road for right-side tires and fuel under green, an untimely caution waved for the blown engine of David Reutimann, forcing Busch to take the wave-around and start at the tail end of the lead lap in 18th, virtually ending any opportunity at a high finish.
He managed to cross the strip 16th at the wave of the checkered flag, which didn’t nearly indicate that July performance, which was in stark contrast to several disappointing runs Busch has had at New Hampshire since joining JGR in 2008. Now in his fifth season with JGR, Busch has scored just two top-fives in nine races there in the No. 18 car. Even though his results don’t show it, Busch and crew chief Dave Rogers know they hit on something in July, and they have a feeling a New Hampshire win together could be just around the corner – in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300.
Busch had enjoyed plenty of success at the “Magic Mile” at the start of his career, having scored a Sprint Cup win in July 2006 to go along with six top-10 finishes in 15 starts overall. Outside the Sprint Cup ranks, Busch has scored three wins, one pole and four top-five results in seven NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at Loudon to go along with three wins, one pole and six top-10 finishes in six NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at the 1.058-mile oval.
Might this finally be the weekend Busch, Rogers, and the M&M’s team will have things fall into place for them in the form of a magical finish together at the “Magic Mile? If the last trip there is any indication, they could be the ones to watch come Sunday afternoon.