Kyle Busch placed third at Kansas on Sunday, but seemed happier after the race than Joey Logano and Kyle Larson who finished ahead of him.
“I won today,” he declared after the race. “I just didn’t get champagne and a trophy.”
Busch had every reason to celebrate. Kansas had been his Achilles’ heel his entire career and was set up to derail his Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup hopes as the first race in the Contender Round. Going into the contest, Busch had a lower average finish at Kansas than any other track (22.7) and posted DNFs in three of his last four races there prior to Sunday. Rowdy had every excuse to roll over, but instead left with a cushy 19 points ahead of the cut.
The road gets a little easier for Busch this Saturday in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET on ABC). Statistically, he is the best active driver to have never won at the 1.5-mile quad oval. In 21 starts, Busch claims a series-high 973 quality passes, as well as the second-best driver rating (106.3) and average running position (10.0).
Busch heads to Charlotte riding a streak of four consecutive top-10 finishes, all in Chase races. Before his seventh-place showing at Chicagoland on Sept. 14, he had not registered a top-10 finish since his runner-up effort at Indianapolis on July 27. The No. 18 Toyota Camry driver’s third-place showing at Kansas gave him top-five finishes at every current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track.