If Sunday’s historic race on Charlotte Motor Speedway road course was on just a natural road course, I’d say watch out for Kyle Busch. But, the fact that it’s also part road course part oval, I say pump the brakes a bit.
Busch, has four road course wins during his career. He has nine top seven finishes in his last 13 starts on them overall. But, if you look at his results on the Charlotte ROVAL, well I now begin to question whether his No. 18 Toyota will be factor for the win on Sunday or not.
Busch’s two ROVAL finishes are 32nd and 37th respectively.
“The last two times we’ve been there, it just seems that we don’t quite have all of what we’re looking for,” Busch said. “We were going to have a decent run maybe the first year, maybe a third or fourth place finish and then last year we were destined for a top-six. Each year we get caught up in stuff.
“The first year following (it was) everybody off the cliff into Turn 1 and then last year getting hit on a restart with somebody making a three-wide move getting into (Turn) 1 and caused damage to our car, got a flat tire and never recovered. Just unfortunate circumstances.
“We just have to keep ourselves out of trouble. That’s hard to do on such a tight circuit with a lot of stuff going on and a lot of guys making desperation moves and us needing to make some desperation moves, too, most likely.”
With them struggling on setups this year, I don’t necessarily think this is Busch’s best shot to end a winless streak that dates to last year’s season finale.
He was also only 37th on the Daytona road course back in August too.
He hasn’t won all season and is -21 now in a likely win or go home scenario. He said before the round that he doesn’t think he will make it past the second round. While he’s had four top seven finishes during the postseason, the Talladega crashes and lack of playoff points put him here.
“Just race it out. Race as best we can, as good as we can,” Busch said of his philosophy entering the weekend. “I felt like at the Daytona Road Course, it was going okay for us. Made a lot of mistakes early on in the race and we were still up to second and trying to chase down (Chase) Elliott there towards the end … then we ended up having all of our brake failures.
“For as far off as we’ve been at the Roval, that was certainly a big step in the right direction at the Daytona Road Course, so we’re taking some of that similar philosophy there in order to see if we can’t improve on how our cars drive at the Roval.
“Having Talladega and the Charlotte Roval both in the same round for us is worst case scenario that’s absolutely possible. It’s a tough round for us and this team with the luck we seem to have, especially this year,” he said. “But anything can happen.
“You can go into this race and work your guts out and finish second in each and every one of the stages and yet still get beat out by somebody else by points or finish second to (Alex Bowman) winning and he transfers on or whatever it might be.
“The fact of the matter is that it’s going to come down to attrition and seeing what happens in the race and just playing it out the whole way and hoping that you’re not in the attrition.”