Kyle Busch: Paving the Way to First Kansas Win
As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to the newly repaved and slightly reconfigured Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, count Kyle Busch among the drivers hoping the fresh asphalt will create some fresh results in Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.
The 1.5-mile oval built in 2001, which previously featured a constant 15 degrees of banking in the turns, underwent a massive renovation project since the most recent Sprint Cup race there in April. The changes included repaving of the existing track surface, reconfiguration of the oval, and the addition of a new infield road course. The new configuration also changed the oval’s geometry to now feature variable banking of 17 to 20 degrees in the turns.
Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Halloween Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), might welcome the drastic change to the track surface as much as anyone. With an average finish of just 20.0 in his previous 10 visits to Kansas in a Sprint Cup car, which includes just two top-10 finishes, Busch feels there is nowhere to go but up.
But, as is the case at most racetracks that host NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series events, Busch has tasted success at Kansas in NASCAR’s second tier of competition, scoring a victory in 2007, a runner-up finish in 2009, and a pair of third-place runs in 2006 and 2010. The best he has to show for his 10 visits on the Sprint Cup side, however, is a seventh-place finish in 2006.
With the track freshly paved and reconfigured, the Las Vegas native hopes to finally taste success at the 1.5-mile oval just a stone’s throw west of the Missouri-Kansas state line. Sporting a special M&M’s Halloween “Fun Packs” paint scheme on his No. 18 Toyota, Busch will be chasing a long-awaited first victory at Kansas with a vengeance as he and his team try to put their past struggles there far behind them.
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