The list of racetracks where Kyle Busch has yet to win in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is not long.
In fact, there are only two left on that list – Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, the site of Sunday’s Pocono 400 Cup Series race.
So as the Cup Series competitors head to the Pocono Mountains for the first of two races there in an eight-week span that also signals the beginning of the summer stretch of races, Busch and the No. 18 M&M’S Red, White, and Blue Toyota Camry team for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) are looking to get one win closer to adding his name to the record books yet again. Busch added two Cup Series tracks to his career victory list with 2016 wins at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
Other drivers have come close to accomplishing the feat Busch has in his sights and fell short. Four-time series champion Jeff Gordon retired after the 2015 season and was one short of the feat as he was unable to find victory lane at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta in five career starts there. Three-time champion Tony Stewart, who retired at the end of 2016, had Kentucky and Darlington (S.C.) Raceway remaining on his list of tracks where he had yet to win.
While Pocono proved to be difficult for Busch to master for the first six years of his Cup Series career, he seemed to have turned a corner there starting in June 2011, when he started from the pole – his first at Pocono – and was beaten across the finish line only by teammate and Pocono master Denny Hamlin, who has four wins to his credit at “The Tricky Triangle.” In August 2011, Busch led 27 laps late in the race before equaling his career-best Pocono finish of second behind race-winner Brad Keselowski. While he brought home top-10 finishes in both 2013 races at Pocono, Busch and the M&M’S Red, White, and Blue team are striving for even bigger things at the 2.5-mile track after running well the last two years but not getting the finishes they deserved, especially the July 2015 fuel-mileage heartbreak as his most recent strong run there.
While Busch brought home his first career win in the non-points All-Star Race three weeks ago at Charlotte, Busch has come agonizingly close to his first points-paying win of the season. With strong runs at Phoenix International Raceway, Martinsville and in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, Busch has at least three races he’s run well enough to win but has come up just short in his attempt. In fact, Busch has led 603 total laps this season, the third-most laps led in the Cup Series behind Martin Truex Jr.’s 871 and Kyle Larson’s 607. With those strong runs in the back of his mind, there’s no doubt that Busch, 2015 Cup Series champion, could bring home a win very soon.
As the series heads back to the Pocono Mountains for Sunday’s 400-miler, Busch and the entire M&M’S team hope to start the summer stretch of races on the right foot. They’ll look to cross another track off the list for Busch as he works to accomplish something nobody else has in NASCAR Cup history – win a points race at every single active track.