Kyle Busch will make his 500th NASCAR National Series start in a Toyota on Saturday when he gets behind the wheel of his No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The two-mile oval will pose a tough test for Busch, who is five-for-five in Truck Series action this season, in his bid to keep his perfect season alive. A victory in NASCAR's third division has narrowly eluded the Las Vegas native several times as he has posted four runner-up finishes across his seven career starts.
Since joining the Toyota Racing family in 2008, Busch has registered a remarkable 114 NASCAR National Series victories across his first 499 starts for the manufacturer, including their first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March of 2008. The 29-year-old driver has contributed the most individual wins for Toyota in each of NASCAR's top three divisions, posting 25 of their 65 career Sprint Cup Series victories, 55 of their 93 Nationwide Series wins and 34 of their 122 Camping World Truck Series triumphs. With 'Rowdy' leading the charge, Toyota has captured three Manufacturers' Championships in the Nationwide Series (2008-2010) and five in the Truck Series (2008-2011 & 2013).
Thanks in large part to the efforts that Toyota and Toyota Racing Development put into the development of the 2014 Tundra, Busch has been dominant in the Truck Series this season. After starting seventh and leading 25 laps en route to victory in the season-opening race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, 'Rowdy' has started first, finished first and recorded a perfect Driver Rating in each of his last four events. KBM's owner-driver has led 479 out of a possible 651 laps (73.5%) in victories at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, Dover (Del.) International Speedway and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
Busch has picked up Truck Series victories at four of the five tracks remaining on his 10-race schedule this season. The one left to conquer is this week's venue - Michigan International Speedway, where he has four runner-up finishes but no victories. Last season, the Las Vegas native led four times for 33 laps and was out front with five laps remaining when he got slightly loose as he positioned his No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra to cut off the momentum of then second-place runner Brendan Gaughan off Turn 4. James Buescher was able to slingshot past both trucks and remained out front for the final four laps en route to the victory. In 2009, 'Rowdy' led a race-high 62 laps and had a comfortable lead with 24 circuits remaining when his progress was slowed by a lap truck and Colin Braun was able to work his way around him and hold on for the victory. In 2007, he led a race-high 37 laps and was out front before getting passed by Travis Kvapil with just two laps remaining. In 2005, he captured the pole, led 17 laps and was running second when a late-race caution ended the race under yellow-flag conditions with Dennis Setzer out front.
Oh what a feeling it would be for Busch to finally capture that elusive Truck Series victory in the Irish Hills of Michigan while making his 500th career NASCAR National Series start in the cockpit of a Toyota Saturday.