As the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season heads into the heat of the summer in August, don’t look now, but Kyle Busch might just be getting ready to go on another summer hot streak.
Busch, the driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Caramel Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) brought home his first points race victory last weekend at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, which also happened to be his first win in NASCAR’s top series at the 2.5-mile triangle. The win was a long time coming, as Busch had come so very close to victory lane several times thus far this season. In fact, Busch’s 1,114 laps led this season is the second-most in the series behind Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. who has led 1,291. As competitive as the M&M’S Caramel team has been in 2017, it was only a matter of time before they made a trip back to victory lane.
With a new trophy on the mantle, Busch now heads to Upstate New York for the second and final road-course race of the NASCAR Cup Series season. Busch will no doubt have an opportunity to start a late summer hot streak this weekend when the series visits Watkins Glen (N.Y) International. With his win at Pocono, the 39th of his Cup Series career, Busch is virtually a lock for NASCAR’s playoffs, as he now looks to add as many bonus points as possible for stage wins and race wins to use throughout the 10-race playoff push.
If the Las Vegas native were to grab another checkered flag in Sunday’s I Love New York 355k at The Glen and make it two wins in-a-row in 2017, he could also join some elite company as a road-racing ace in NASCAR’s top series.
Busch is tied with David Pearson and Mark Martin with four Cup Series 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. There is a bit of distance to the top two spots on the all-time road-course wins list, however, as second-place Jeff Gordon has seven wins and leader Tony Stewart has nine.
Busch scored his fourth career Cup Series road-course win in June 2015 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, and he heads to Watkins Glen with an impressive nine top-10 finishes in his 12 career starts at The Glen, which includes two victories. Add an average finish of 10.1, along with his 195 laps led, and Busch’s record is quite dazzling at the site of Sunday’s 355-kilometer race.
After Busch’s inaugural Cup Series 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 Caramel team as the favorite each time the series comes to town.
So as Busch heads to Upstate New York for some road racing this weekend, he would like to accomplish two things – add to his summer hot streak while also adding to the record books as one of NASCAR’s best road-course racers.