The driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has won on racetracks ranging in length from .526 of a mile, .533 of a mile, .75 of a mile, 1 mile, 1.5 miles, 1.99 miles and 2 miles. He’s celebrated in victory lane at the high-banked ovals and flat tracks. He’s even has had a seat at the head table at the year-end banquet.
But, there’s one trophy missing from Busch’s shelf. With 26 Sprint Cup wins and the 2004 championship on his list of credits, a points-paying win at either of the two restrictor-plate tracks – Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway – is the one thing that has eluded Busch in his 16-year Sprint Cup career.
While the Las Vegas native hasn’t won a Sprint Cup points-paying race at either restrictor-plate track on the schedule, he has come painfully close many times. He has four top-three finishes at Talladega and six top-threes at Daytona, including runner-up results in the Daytona 500 in 2003, 2005 and 2008.
Busch has won in both the Sprint Unlimited and Budweiser Duel non-points races at Daytona– both in 2011. He also has a 2012 NASCAR Xfinity Series win at Daytona and a 2003 IROC victory at Talladega, the site of Sunday’s GEICO 500. Still, he has fallen short of grabbing the checkered flag in a points-paying Sprint Cup race at either track.
With a victory at Talladega this weekend, Busch would join an elite list of drivers who have won at every type of track on the Sprint Cup circuit: superspeedway, speedway, intermediate, short track and road course.
With his most recent victory at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway Sunday, Busch and his No. 41 team are virtually guaranteed a spot in the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship playoffs. With plenty of racing to be done until the Chase begins at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois in September, Busch and his Tony Gibson-led crew can now race aggressively for additional wins. With nothing to lose as his team tackles the always challenging Talladega circuit, Busch looks at this weekend as the perfect opportunity to finally get that restrictor-plate win he so desperately desires.