The list of racetracks where Kyle Busch has yet to win in any of NASCAR’s top three divisions – Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck – is not long.
In fact, there are only three left on that list – Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, the site of Sunday’s Pocono 400 Sprint Cup Series race. Of the 28 tracks that will host NASCAR’s top three divisions in 2014, Busch has competed at every circuit but Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, and he has won at 25 of them.
So as the Sprint Cup competitors head to the Pocono Mountains for the first of two races there in an eight-week span, it also signals the beginning of the summer stretch of races. Busch and the M&M’s Peanut Butter team are looking to improve on their results in recent years at the next several tracks on the tour, particularly the next three races at Pocono, Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, and Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
While Pocono has been difficult for Busch to master over the years, he seemed to have turned a corner there starting in June 2011, when he started from the pole – his first at Pocono – and was beaten across the finish line only by teammate and Pocono master Denny Hamlin, who has four wins to his credit at “The Tricky Triangle.” In August 2011, Busch led 27 laps late in the race before equaling his career-best Pocono finish of second behind race-winner Brad Keselowski. While he brought home top-10 finishes in both 2013 races at Pocono, Busch and the M&M’s Peanut Butter team are striving for even bigger things at the 2.5-mile track.
Sunday’s Pocono race will also serve as the culmination of a unique contest run by Busch’s primary backer M&M’s. Fans last month had the opportunity to visit the M&M’s Racing Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mmsracing) and share which M&M’s flavor they would “draft” – M&M’s Peanut, M&M’s Peanut Butter, or M&M’s Pretzel. The top vote-getter was M&M’s Peanut Butter, which as a result will be the colorful scheme that will adorn the No. 18 Toyota this weekend at Pocono for the second consecutive weekend. The M&M’s Peanut Butter scheme made its season debut last weekend at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
As the series heads back to the Pocono Mountains for Sunday’s Pocono 400, summer school will be in session for Busch, crew chief Dave Rogers and the entire M&M’s Peanut Butter team as they look to keep learning how to improve during the coming stretch of races. And, they hope the wins will soon follow.