The driver of the No. 18 PEDIGREE® Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) brought home a ninth-place finish Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, leading 121 laps and enabling the No. 18 team to come out of the gates with a solid finish to start the Chase just four points out of the lead. In the second year of NASCAR’s current playoff format, it appears consistency is the formula for advancing through the first two rounds, while winning will be the key once the championship chase comes down to the final six races.
Even more good news for Busch and Company is that the next race on the schedule is Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Busch, an avid animal lover and dog owner, would like nothing more than to bring the dogs riding along on the Pedigree Toyota back to victory lane at New Hampshire, a place he’s quite familiar with. It was the site of one of the four 2015 wins for Busch and the No. 18 team during their last trip there together in July. In fact, Busch and the PEDIGREE® team have four top-two finishes at the 1.058 mile oval dating back to July 2013 and have not finished lower than eighth there since the 2012 season.
Busch has enjoyed plenty of success at the “Magic Mile” throughout his career as he has eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 21 starts to go with his two wins there. Outside the Sprint Cup ranks, Busch has four wins, one pole and seven top-five results in 10 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Loudon to go with three wins, one pole and six top-10s in seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts there.And while it’s “so far, so good” at the start of this year’s Chase, things could turn into “so far, really good” with another solid run at the outset of this year’s Sprint Cup playoffs. If their last trip there is any indication, they just could be the ones to watch come Sunday afternoon.