When it comes to winning races, Kyle Busch has always been about the numbers.
So as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series comes out of the Easter off weekend and heads to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Food City 500, the number of the week for Busch will be six.
The driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has a stellar record at the .533-mile high-banked bullring with five Cup Series wins to his credit there. In fact, there will only be one other driver in the 40-car field Sunday afternoon who has the same number of Bristol wins – his brother Kurt Busch.
After coming so close to winning races earlier this year at Phoenix International Raceway and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, not only would Busch like nothing more than to bring home his first Cup Series win of the season, he’d love to sit alone atop the list of active drivers with six career Bristol wins.
In addition to his five wins, Busch has notched eight top-fives and 13 top-10s in 23 career starts at Northeast Tennessee’s “Thunder Valley.” Amazingly enough, three of Busch’s wins there came over a four-race span at the .533-mile short track in 2009 and 2010.
While he is a factor any time he travels to Bristol, it’s interesting to note Busch didn’t immediately take to the place. During his rookie year in 2005, he posted finishes of 28th and 33rd, but his record since then has been impressive, to say the least. After bringing home finishes of eighth and second in 2006, Busch captured his first Bristol Cup Series win in March 2007. The track was resurfaced after that race and, from 2008 to 2011, nobody has been better at the concrete short track than Busch. He scored four wins and six top-10s from 2008 until another change to the track surface prior to the August 2012 race weekend. Busch is looking to recapture the magic from his four years of dominance there on the current surface.
As Busch chases his first win of the season, a quick look at the back-to-back short-track races at Bristol and Richmond (Va.) International Raceway the following weekend give the 2015 Cup Series champion plenty of optimism that wins are on the horizon. So as Busch and the M&M’S team head to Northeast Tennessee this weekend, they’ll be focused on the number six in hopes of taking yet another checkered flag at a Bristol track that has treated him quite well over the years.