With just one race remaining before the start of the 10-race, 16-driver Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, Kyle Busch is headed to one of his best tracks looking to add to his playoff point total.
With his playoff spot firmly in hand by virtue of his second position in points and two race wins this season, Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Caramel Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), is hoping to improve his playoff point total in Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.
With the introduction of stage racing in 2017, drivers have had the opportunity to add a playoff point for each stage win, along with five playoff points for each race victory. Those points are not only important for the first round of the playoffs, which begin next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois, but can also be used throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs. With his 10 stage wins and two race wins, Busch’s 20 playoff points is second only to regular-season champion Martin Truex Jr.’s 37.
The good news for Busch is that he now heads to his most consistent track looking to add to the total – the .75-mile Richmond short track in Virginia’s capital city. Along with four series wins there, Busch has amassed 15 top-five finishes and 17 top-10s in 24 career starts at Richmond. Additionally, the Las Vegas native has an average finishing position of 7.3 at Richmond, tops among active drivers. Next best is Kevin Harvick, whose average finish there is 8.2. Busch has completed all but one of the 9,623 laps available to him in his 24 Richmond starts. Of those laps completed, Busch has run in the top-15 for 8,462 laps, or 87.9 percent, which is second-most among active drivers.
Saturday night, Busch and the M&M’S Caramel team look to get back to Richmond’s victory lane, where Busch ended up after four consecutive spring race wins from 2009 to 2012, besting Richard Petty’s previous record of three Richmond spring race wins in a row from 1971 to 1973. With those impressive statistics and records to back him up, it’s little wonder that a visit to the “Capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia” is one of Busch’s favorite stops on the NASCAR tour.
So, as the series heads back to Richmond for the final race of the 2017 regular season, Busch and the M&M’S Caramel team look to bring home their fifth career win there. Whether or not they make it back to victory lane, history has shown they’ll have the driver and team everyone will be on the lookout for as they make one last playoff push before the postseason begins.