It can be any object regarded as being of value or interest to a collector, and not necessarily monetarily valuable or antique. It can be something that is old, it can be something manufactured specifically for the purpose of collecting or, in this case, it can be an intangible item that serves as little more than bragging rights.
There is no official statistical category for drivers who have amassed top-five or top-10 finishes at each racetrack that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competes at, but there is one that certainly exists for drivers of the most competitive nature. Among those who would like nothing more than to complete his set of top-five finishes at each of the active tracks the series visits is Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
When Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, finished second to now teammate Kevin Harvick in October 2013 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, it left Kentucky Speedway in Sparta as the only remaining racetrack where Busch had yet to score a top-five finish in Sprint Cup competition. Kentucky plays host to the Sprint Cup Series Saturday night for just the fifth time since joining the schedule in 2011.
Busch is one of the more experienced drivers who will compete at Kentucky Saturday night. In fact, he participated in the track’s inaugural event – a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in June 2000. Busch, then a rookie in the series, started 32nd and, as he recalls, overdrove every turn before eventually wrecking his truck on lap 111 of the scheduled 150-lap event. He also competed in a pair of NASCAR Xfinity Series races there in 2012 while driving for his brother’s team, Kyle Busch Motorsports. He finished second in his first outing and was credited with a 28th-place finish after a rear-end failure in the other.
It wasn’t until 2011 that the Sprint Cup Series made its first visit to the Bluegrass State. In the years between 2000 and 2011, since the track was not used by NASCAR’s premier series, race teams could use the track liberally for testing. Busch claims that his former team, Roush Racing, would visit the track almost every other Tuesday to test new setups for upcoming races.
While Busch is still looking for his first Sprint Cup top-five at the track, he has been able to record two top-10s and has never finished outside the top-20. He has completed all 1,068 laps of Sprint Cup competition since 2011, has an average start of 13.2 and average finish of 11.5. He also has led 41 laps.
A top-five finish Saturday night in the Kentucky 400 would place Busch in rather elite company as one of only a handful of drivers with top-five finishes at all racetracks visited by the Sprint Cup Series. A victory not only completes the criteria for membership, but does so with some serious bravado.