It differs greatly from how Webster’s Dictionary defines it, but the great Albert Einstein is famous for a particular definition that captures the essence of the word even better. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
How does this apply to Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 SNICKERS Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) for Saturday night’s 5-hour Energy 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City? Simply put, whatever he’s tried at the 1.5-mile oval since it was repaved in October 2012 has not been working. He’s had three races there since the repave, none of which he’s finished.
With that, Busch and crew chief Dave Rogers are starting from scratch this weekend with a brand-new car. And they’re attacking the track in the Heartland of America with a different approach with the hopes that a fresh outlook will produce some vastly different results.
Kansas isn’t the only track that has given Busch fits during his career, now in its 10th year as a fulltime Sprint Cup driver. Places like Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn and Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth are just a few that Busch struggled at early in his career, only to bring home wins from those places in recent years by taking a different approach than he did originally.
In fact, Busch has won at 17 of the 23 tracks at which the Sprint Cup Series competes. The only six tracks Busch has failed to reach victory lane in Sprint Cup competition are: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Kansas. While there are six tracks where he’s yet to score a Sprint Cup win, Kansas is the only track where Busch has yet to record a top-five finish.
Despite the dry spell at Kansas in NASCAR’s top series, Busch has tasted success at Kansas in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition – as is the case at most racetracks on the Nationwide schedule – with a victory in 2007, a runner-up finish in 2009, and a pair of third-place runs in 2006 and 2010. The best he has to show for his 13 visits to Kansas on the Sprint Cup side, however, is a seventh-place finish in 2006.
So, as Busch heads back to the Heartland this weekend for the first Sprint Cup night race at Kansas, he’ll hope that starting with a clean sheet of paper will lead to some better fortune when the checkered flag drops Saturday night.