It’s been an uncharacteristic few months for the 2015 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch, who hasn’t won a race since Pocono, Pa. – 17 races ago. The regular season champ has had an up-and-down Playoff run finishing 19th or worse in three races and top 10 in the other two. He’s led laps in only two of the three Playoff races – but that includes 202 laps out front at Richmond, where he finished runner-up.
Busch is ranked third in the championship standings coming to Kansas – 15 points behind leader and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.
Kyle Busch during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 21, 2018 in Kansas City, Kansas.
Furthermore, Busch has scored just four top five finishes in his last 13 starts on the season too. The only reason he’s in a position to move onto the Round of 8 is based off of all his playoff points he accumulated over the course of the 26 race regular season.
But, this could be the weekend that sparks a turnaround for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.
The 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway has been a significant venue this season for Busch. His 30th place finish at Kansas in May snapped a historic run of 11 straight top-10 finishes to open the season. It also snapped an impressive run of eight consecutive top-10 finishes at Kansas that included a victory in 2016 and a runner-up finish to Chase Elliott in last year’s Playoff race.
Busch is the only driver with victories in all three NASCAR national series at Kansas. In addition to his Cup win, he has four Xfinity Series victories – including an unprecedented three straight from 2014-16 – and a pair of Gander Outdoors Truck Series trophies (2014 and 2017).
Then, it’s onto Martinsville where Busch hasn’t finished worse than fifth over his last eight starts there. Five of his last eight Martinsville (VA) Speedway finishes were inside of the top three. After that, it’s to Texas where Busch has two top 10 finishes including a win in his last three Lonestar State starts. Finally, it’s to Phoenix to close the Round of 8 where that’s a place that Busch won at in the spring, won at in the playoff race last year and was second in the spring race a year ago too. His last eight Phoenix finishes are – 4th, 4th, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 2nd, 1st and 1st respectively.
If there’s anytime to spark a turnaround for the good, it should start this weekend.