When Kyle Busch won at the Pocono Raceway early in June of 2019, that was his fourth win of the season already. Four wins in 14 starts. But, if you go back to 2018, to this very Richmond race to be exact, Busch had six wins in his last 23 races.
One win in his last 49 starts. In fact, he hasn’t won at all this season (0-for-27) with his last trip to victory lane being in last year’s championship round at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
That has put Busch behind the eight ball to start this year’s playoffs off. He had one stage win, which equates out to 1 playoff point and got two more bonus points for finishing in the top 10 of the regular season points. Three playoff points isn’t going to advance him very long through the 10 race postseason. The later and later you get, the guys with all the playoff points accumulated will easily get by in front of Busch.
Kevin Harvick had 47 coming into the postseason. Busch’s teammate Denny Hamlin had 37. Busch is automatically 44 and 34 points behind them at the start of each round. Heck, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano had 29 and 22 playoff points respectively. Busch would trail then by 26 and 19 respectively.
With them dominating playoff points and race wins, it’s going to be hard to fathom Busch advancing to his sixth straight Championship 4 appearance without winning a race. That’s why for the tracks that he’s statistically been great at, he needs to capitalize on max points.
Up this weekend is the Federated Auto Parts 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN). Busch, swept both races in 2018 at the Richmond (VA) Raceway. He’s had five top two finishes in his last nine Richmond starts.
So, in order to feel comfortable heading to Bristol next week, he needs to win or at the very least snag a top three result under the lights on the .75-mile oval.
While Busch has three wins in his last six Bristol starts, nothing is guaranteed there.
The thing about this weekend is, Busch will have to compete without his crew chief Adam Stevens who’s suspended for Saturday nights race after being penalized for a lug nut violation following last Sunday’s Southern 500. We’ve seen Busch’s car struggle off the hauler this season and them having to adjust it throughout the course of the race. Does not having Stevens and not racing at Richmond yet this season hurt him?