With a trio of top-five finishes – two of them seconds – and an average Chase finish of 3.0, Kyle Busch very well could be on the way to his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Busch’s best previous average finish over the first three Chase races, 12.0, came in 2010.
To maintain the momentum, however, he’ll have to survive this weekend’s round at Kansas Speedway.
The 1.5-mile track has been anything but kind to the 28-time premier series winner. Besides being one of six tracks where Busch hasn’t won, Kansas truly has been a thorn in the 28-year-old driver’s side.
Busch has no top fives and just two top 10s – the best a seventh in 2006 – in 12 visits to Kansas Speedway. His average finish of 22.4 is third-worst in Sprint Cup competition behind two other Chase tracks, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
The Las Vegas driver has finished on the lead lap just 50% of the time and has failed to complete three starts – among them this season’s STP 400 and last fall’s Hollywood Casino 400 in which his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was felled by accidents.
His Driver Rating of 79.0 is 18th best in the series and 11th among Chase qualifiers. Busch, however, is not deterred by his previous lack of success.
“I’m looking forward to Kansas with the roll we’re on,” he said. “I thought we were running decent there last fall. Actually, I was leading and I spun myself out while I was leading. So, hopefully, we have a good car like that this time around and I don’t make a mistake.”