Kyle Busch, coming off back-to-back Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff wins, will be heading to Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway this weekend all charged up.
And who can blame him, as he won two of the three races in the Round of 16. Busch will look to add another playoff win, and his first career Cup Series points win at Charlotte, as the Interstate Batteries logos will be aboard his green-and-white-striped No. 18 Toyota for Sunday afternoon’s Bank of America 500.
With the Interstate Batteries team’s recent “charge” in NASCAR’s postseason, Busch looks to keep the momentum going as the Cup Series enters its fourth race of the 2017 playoffs in this exciting and sometimes unpredictable playoff format.
The driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has proven over the years that he can get the job done at just about every racetrack in NASCAR’s top series. In fact, Busch heads into this weekend chasing a long-awaited victory at Charlotte that would make him a winner at every track on the circuit, as well as a step closer to his immediate goal of bringing home a second Cup Series championship.
With wins at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Kansas Speedway in Kansas City added to the list last season, and crossing Pocono (Pa.) Raceway off the list this past July, Busch has won Cup Series points races at 22 of the 23 tracks at which the series competes. During his 2015 Cup Series championship season, Busch checked off Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Of the 22 different tracks where Busch has won, he has multiple wins at 11 of them.
While he finally broke through and won the non-points All-Star Race at Charlotte in May, Busch continues to chase the ever-elusive points-paying Cup Series victory there.
Other drivers have come close to the feat Busch has in his sights – winning at every track on the circuit. Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon retired after the 2015 season one short of the accomplishment as he was unable to secure a win at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta in five career starts there. Three-time-champion Tony Stewart, who retired at the end of last season, does not have Kentucky or Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on his career win list.
With Busch advancing to the Round of 12 of the playoffs after the New Hampshire and Dover wins, the focus Sunday will be on getting to victory lane and locking his Interstate Batteries team into the Round of 8 of this year’s playoffs.
The 2015 Cup Series champion has visited Charlotte’s victory lane a combined 15 times in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series, leaving no doubt Busch knows how to close out race wins in bunches at the 1.5-mile oval in the heart of NASCAR country.
So as Busch and his No. 18 Interstate Batteries team head just down the road from Joe Gibbs Racing’s Huntersville, North Carolina headquarters, the hottest driver in NASCAR will be looking to add Charlotte to the win column, which could be critical in his “charge” toward another championship in November at the season finale at Homestead.