While Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 is only the fourth-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in the history of Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kyle Busch and his crew chief Dave Rogers have a winning pedigree at the 1.5-mile oval that dates back much further than 2011’s inaugural Sprint Cup race near the “Horse Racing Capital of America.”
Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), has quite the record at the racing facility that sits some 65 miles up the road from Louisville’s Churchill Downs, a legendary racing facility where horsepower of a different kind is showcased.
Busch has notched victories at Kentucky Speedway in all three of NASCAR’s top divisions – Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck. Add his 2003 ARCA series win at Kentucky and Busch has been victorious in four racing divisions and has made quite a Kentucky home of his own in Kentucky’s second-most-famous victory lane.
In the inaugural Sprint Cup event at Kentucky in 2011, Busch proved his worth when he led six times for a race-high 125 laps to be the historic first winner in NASCAR’s top series in the state.
But Busch’s winning history at Kentucky started way back at the ripe age of 18, when he dominated the 2003 ARCA race there while competing for Hendrick Motorsports. He led a race-high 91 laps en route to the victory.
He returned to the Bluegrass State the following year and found victory lane again, this time in his Nationwide Series debut at the 1.5-mile oval. In all, Busch has one win, four top-fives, and has led 385 laps in six Nationwide Series starts there. He also won the 2011 Truck Series race to give him four top-10 finishes and 219 laps led in four Truck Series starts at the speedway.
In addition to Busch’s stellar career statistics at Kentucky, his crew chief Dave Rogers sports a record that is equally as impressive as his current driver. While Rogers’ bio lists his hometown as Marshfield, Vermont, the 40-year-old crew chief absolutely owned Kentucky Speedway in 2008 and 2009 while calling the shots for JGR’s No. 20 Nationwide Series team and former JGR driver Joey Logano. In their two Nationwide Series starts together at Kentucky, Logano and Rogers won both races from the pole and led a total of 96 laps. The 2008 victory was not only the first of many for the tandem of Rogers and Logano, it was also Logano’s first career Nationwide Series win in just his third start in the series, and just one month after the young driver celebrated his 18th birthday.
So as the Sprint Cup Series makes just its fourth appearance near the longtime home of horse racing in America, Busch, Rogers and the M&M’s team looks to be in prime position to use their winning pedigree in hopes of adding to his already stellar record in a multitude of stock-car divisions at the 1.5-mile racetrack.