With a bright yellow racecar covered with images of red, blue, green and brown M&M’s chocolate candies, and with a firesuit and helmet to match, it’s certainly not a stretch to call Kyle Busch one of the most colorful drivers in NASCAR.
But as the curtain falls on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season this weekend, Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), hopes it all simply comes down to a matter of black and white – checkers, that is.
With his and the No. 18 team’s sights already set on a more-determined-than-ever run for the championship in 2013, Busch would love nothing more than to circle the 1.5-mile oval at Homestead-Miami Speedway after Sunday’s season-ending Ford 400 by celebrating another victory with checkered flag in-hand.
As the Sprint Cup Series plans to introduce a new car for 2013, Busch and his M&M’s team have shown over the last nine races that they don’t plan on putting the 2012 season behind them until it’s officially over. To that point, despite not being a Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship competitor, Busch and his M&M’s team have been quite impressive in the nine Chase races thus far as he has accrued 317 points – fourth-most among all series drivers. In the last nine races, Busch has scored six top-five finishes and seven top-10s, and he’ll hope to add to the hot streak during Sunday’s final race of 2012.
To earn the right to carry the checkered flag come Sunday night, Busch looks to improve by leaps and bounds over his career-best Homestead finish of eighth in 2009. It was his only top-10 at the 1.5-mile South Florida oval, bettering by far his other six finishes of 41st, 28th, 20th, 19th, 32nd, and 23rd.
So, before the curtain falls on the 2012 Sprint Cup season at Homestead, Busch will reach for a Homestead win in order to top off his strong finish to 2012 with an exclamation point, then carry it over to a new season full of promise in 2013.