Kyle Busch was looking pedestrian as of late. His No. 18 Toyota hasn’t found victory lane since June 2. That’s a winless streak of 18 races now, which equates to exactly half of a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. At the time of his last win at the Pocono Raceway going on five months ago, it was Busch’s fourth in 14 tries this season.
That’s why it’s remarkable that he’s not win since.
But, maybe some good times are ahead. Busch, would finish third in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at the Kansas Speedway for just his second top five finish over his last seven starts on the season. It was also only his fourth in the last 13 races too.
Despite that, he’s moving onto the Round of 8 with his championship hopes still alive. He scored seven stage points on Sunday after having to come back from some crash damage from contact on the Lap 78 restart. Busch, would have to take a penalty on his pit stop during Stage 2 for having too many men over the wall to repair his Toyota. Then, he had a throttle issue which later was fixed as well. There he was in 10th at the end of the second stage and a car capable of winning again.
He nearly did so too.
Busch, was chasing down his teammate Denny Hamlin before Ryan Blaney brought out the fifth caution of the day with 15 laps-to-go in regulation. On the final pit stops under that yellow, Busch elected to take four tires. He’d restart fourth as a result. The three cars in front of him had just two tires.
Hamlin’s car was just that good though to hold Busch off as only Hamlin and Chase Elliott who also had four fresh tires on that round of stops finished ahead of him. Now, it’s onto some good tracks for him coming up.
It’s now 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.