Kyle Busch Moving On Up

Kyle Busch has been moving on up on several lists these days, winning three consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in July and four of the last six. And things get even better for the Las Vegas native as the Sprint Cup Series is headed to another of Busch’s best tracks this weekend – the road course at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

If the driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Crispy Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) were to grab another checkered flag in Sunday’s 355k at the Glen, he could join some elite company as a road racing ace in NASCAR’s top series. Currently, Busch is tied with David Pearson and Mark Martin with four Sprint Cup road-course wins apiece. That’s some pretty good company, already. But with a fifth road course win, he could tie Darrell Waltrip, Tim Richmond and Dan Gurney on the road-course win list. Some big names, to say the least. Busch will no doubt have to contend this weekend with the all-time leaders in road course wins as Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart currently top the road-course victories list with nine and seven apiece, respectively.

Busch scored his fourth career Sprint Cup road course win in June at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, and he heads to Watkins Glen with an impressive eight top-10 finishes in his 10 career starts at The Glen, which includes two victories. Add an average finish of 11.3, along with his 188 laps led, and Busch’s record is quite dazzling at the site of Sunday’s 355-kilometer race.

After Busch’s inaugural Sprint Cup victory at The Glen in 2008, he nearly won for the second time on the 2.45-mile, 11-turn road course in his 2011 and 2012 visits there before breaking through again in 2013 with another victory in New York’s scenic Finger Lakes Region. A third victory Sunday at The Glen would continue to solidify Busch and the M&M’S Crispy team as the favorite each time the series comes to town.

Most recently, the M&M’S Crispy team came agonizingly close to its fourth consecutive win last Sunday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, but an empty gas tank while leading on the final lap kept Busch from joining some elite company in the NASCAR record books.

Along with chasing records, Busch and the M&M’S Crispy team are also closing in on a spot in this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. With five races remaining before the Chase field is set, Busch has closed to within 13 points of 30th-place David Gilliland. Busch has two requirements to make this year’s NASCAR playoffs – a race win, which he has already accomplished multiple times, and a top-30 position in the driver standings.

So as Busch heads to Upstate New York for some road racing this weekend, he’ll hope to add his name to the records books, and also continue fighting his way into this year’s 16-team Chase field.