Busch finally scores a playoff point, why he needs to end a winless drought next

It’s hard to believe that we’re going into August and Kyle Busch just now has scored his first playoff points of the season. Yes, the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion had as many playoff points accumulated this year as you and I heading into the last race at the Kansas Speedway.

Then, Busch goes out and wins Stage 1 of last Thursday night’s race en route to his first point scored for the postseason. That’s a very big deal as the drivers that he’s going to be competing for a championship against this Fall have scored several. It could come back to bite him in the playoffs this year. Here’s why.

Denny Hamlin has 28 playoff points already. Kevin Harvick has 22. Brad Keselowski scored his 15th with a victory in Stage 2. Joey Logano has 14 with Chase Elliott scoring 10 himself. That doesn’t factor in their bonus points for their point standing after race 26 too. As an example, Harvick would net an additional 15 playoff points for winning the regular season championship. That means he’d have 37 playoff points as of today. Busch, has one. Hamlin, Keselowski and Logano could all be well into the 20’s in terms of playoff points by time we get to September.

That’s a large advantage for those drivers when points are reset each round and Busch will be trailing them by a lot. Where this is big is, Busch is still winless this year in 19 starts. In fact, he has just one win in his last 41 starts. At this rate, he’s going to have to win in the later rounds of the playoffs if he wants to make it to the Championship 4 for the sixth straight season.

A win appeared to be on the horizon the last few races though. He had crash damage in Texas but still garnered a top five. He was third last week in Kansas before getting into the wall.

His teammates have all shown speed at various times of the year. Can Busch find his way and get back to victory lane?

Is this Sunday’s race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway the spot of his first win? Busch, has 10 top 10 finishes in his last 12 New Hampshire starts including seven of which being in the top three. He also has two wins and four runner-ups in that time frame.

“We’ve won a couple of times there fairly recently,” Busch said of Loudon. “We’ve been kind of the car to beat, one of the guys to beat there for – I think about, I don’t know – the last two, three, four years, maybe. Sometimes guys really, really hit on it and they’re better than us and we’re just always consistently good there, so hopefully we can keep that pattern going, at least, and be consistently good there again, but maybe we can hit on it better than somebody else and try to win.”

Busch says that while New Hampshire isn’t a playoff track anymore, the style of racing there hasn’t changed one bit. 

“It didn’t seem to be much different,” said Busch. “I think that Loudon sometimes is a more challenging racetrack to pass people on, but we’ve had a lot of success there and I think we will again this weekend with our PEDIGREE Toyota.

“There is more time or opportunity for slipping and sliding and contact being made, being a short track, being a flat track. So maybe guys won’t care as much, I guess, because it’s not in the playoffs and they don’t really need notes to help them try and run better there when it comes to playoff time. We’ll see.” 

So, can he win? While the stats and momentum is there in Loudon, Busch says that this hasn’t always been one of his best race tracks either. 

“It’s definitely a challenging racetrack – not one of my best racetracks, I’ll admit that,” Busch said of Loudon. “I’ve won there twice so, if we get a good car – I guess I’ll need to have a really good car, apparently – then we might have a shot to win there.”

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