As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500, Kyle Busch and his No. 18 M&M’S Toyota team for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) continue to follow the blueprint as the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup heads down the homestretch.
Why is that the case? With just three races remaining in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Busch and his team are very much in the championship battle, and a win Sunday at Texas would punch his ticket to the Championship 4 showdown at Homestead-Miami Speedway in two weeks. Last season, Busch’s blueprint to the Sprint Cup title was solid, as he steadily advanced through each round via solid finishes. Once he got to the Championship 4 at Homestead, he brought home a huge victory to secure his first title in NASCAR’s top series. Last season, Busch scored four top-five finishes through seven Chase races. This season? Busch has improved on that, scoring six top-fives in the seven Chase races contested so far, including a solid fifth-place finish to kick off the Round of 8 Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
After winning this year’s April race at Texas, Busch looks to also follow the blueprint from that impressive weekend as he attempts to bring home his third Texas Sprint Cup win. He’s certainly been trending in the right direction at the 1.5-mile oval with six top-five finishes in his last seven starts there. He has 21 career Texas starts with 10 top-fives in all.
Along with his two Sprint Cup wins at Texas, Busch been a frequent visitor to victory lane in most everything he’s raced there. He reeled off an incredible string of five consecutive Xfinity Series wins at Texas from April 2008 to 2010. Add his two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins in November 2009 and 2010 and it’s no wonder Busch is feeling good about his chances of reaching victory lane yet again Sunday.
He sits fourth in the standings heading to Sunday’s second race of the Chase Round of 8. Jimmie Johnson punched his ticket to the four-driver, winner-take-all championship shootout at Homestead by virtue of his win at Martinsville last weekend. Now, Busch sits four points ahead of fifth-place in the standings and will look to either solidify his position among the top four drivers on the Chase grid or, better yet, automatically punch his own ticket to the championship round with a win Sunday.
So while Busch and his M&M’S team look to add yet another signature cowboy hat and six-shooters as race winners in the Lone Star State to their steadily growing trophy collection, Busch knows he and his team continue to follow the blueprint set during last year’s championship run by getting at least get a solid finish Sunday. If all goes according to plan, they very well may be the ones hoisting the Sprint Cup trophy down in South Florida in two weeks.