The only drama on NASCAR’s three-race swing out west was if Kyle Busch could keep himself from winning. Just look at his finishes in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Fontana:
The two anomalies?
He finished 3rd in Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Pennzoil 400, partially thanks to a pit road speeding penalty.
“Coming to pit road there we tried a different brake package for us this weekend, and trying to make up time, and in order to get a bigger jump on the guys behind me coming to pit road there, just ruined it for us, and we had to come from the back,” Busch said. “I think we passed the most cars today so I think we were the most impressive today, but doesn’t matter because we don’t have a trophy. Whatever. Next week.”
Next week went just fine, resulting in an Xfinity Series-Cup Series sweep at ISM Raceway, but the pit road bug bit again in this past Saturday’s Production Alliance Group 300 at Auto Club Speedway. This time it was an uncontrolled tire that helped Cole Custer run away with the win and left Rowdy settling for second.
Of course, the sour sting of second place didn’t last. He was back in Victory Lane Sunday waving a flag to commemorate his 200th NASCAR win across the top three series. He even had to overcome another final stage pit road speeding penalty to do it.
So what’s next?
How about 1,000 career races? In Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville (following the Truck Series race Saturday) Kyle Busch makes his 1,000th career start across the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (503), NASCAR Xfinity Series (348), and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (147).
And he’s not withholding the fun from Texas Motor Speedway next weekend. A lesser-known stat is that Rowdy has led 2,873 total laps in his career at TMS. Considering he’s racing in all three series that weekend, it’s not out of the question to predict he’ll get the 127 that will give him 3,000.
What makes the 3,000 milestone more impressive? In 22 years of racing at Texas Motor Speedway, Busch is the only driver to lead 2,000 laps. In fact, second place on the list at No Limits, Texas, is Kevin Harvick with 1,335 circuits as the lead dog.
About the only thing Busch hasn’t done consistently in his career is pick up the most important hardware, the championship trophy. With his only Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title coming four years and 19 wins ago, he’s due, and as many times as he finishes number one, his focus is squarely on the number two, as in two Cup championships.
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