Kyle Busch – winner of 130 races among NASCAR’s top three divisions – has never been described as average, much like his primary sponsor M&M’s.
Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), is not only better than average at most venues on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, he’s well above average when it comes to Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, site of Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400.
Why would he be described as well above average at Richmond? Busch’s numbers at the .75-mile short track tell the story. His most recent win there in May 2012 was the fourth of his career to go with four runner-up finishes and an amazing 12 top-fives in just 18 career Sprint Cup starts in Virginia’s capital city. The Las Vegas native has an average finishing position of 7.2, tops among active drivers at Richmond, where he sits ahead of JGR teammate Denny Hamlin, whose average finish there is 8.9. Busch has completed all but one of the 7,216 laps available to him at Richmond. Of those laps completed, Busch has run in the top-15 for 6,271 laps (86.9 percent), second-most among active drivers.
Busch’s first Sprint Cup victory there came in May 2009, when he became only the second driver in Sprint Cup history to celebrate a victory on his birthday, a feat first accomplished by Cale Yarborough, who did it twice. Yarborough won on his March 27 birthday at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway in 1977 and at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1983.
While he has been a dominant force over the years at Richmond, which included winning four consecutive spring races at the .75-mile oval, Busch will look to improve on his two outings there last season, which resulted in uncharacteristic finishes of 24th and 19th, respectively.
This weekend, Busch and the M&M’s team will look to get back to their level of performance at Richmond exhibited when they won four consecutive spring races from 2009 to 2012 to best Richard Petty’s previous record of three straight spring-race wins at Richmond from 1971 to 1973.
So with those impressive statistics and records to back him up, it’s little wonder that a visit to the “Capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia” is one of Busch’s favorite stops on the NASCAR tour. Especially since he’s been anything but average there.