When Kyle Busch climbs into the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry on February 20, he will have an opportunity to snap a winless streak. He has never won the Daytona 500 despite having 16 previous attempts.
The two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has achieved a considerable amount of success in his career. Busch has 59 trips to Victory Lane in 606 starts, including two separate eight-win seasons. However, he has only won one race at Daytona International Speedway.
The last time Busch won a race at Daytona was in 2008. He held off Carl Edwards in the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola and reached Victory Lane for the sixth time. He followed up the Daytona win with another at Chicagoland Speedway the following week and his eighth of the season at Watkins Glen International.
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Busch Has Multiple Top-5 Finishes in the Crown Jewel Race
Busch has had several opportunities to pursue a win in the Daytona 500 during his Cup Series career, and he has nearly secured the massive trophy. He has three top-five finishes in the season-opening race, a run that includes a fourth-place finish in 2008 and third in 2016.
Busch’s closest brush with Victory Lane took place in 2019. He led 37 laps during the Crown Jewel race and contended for the win on the final lap after battling Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, and Erik Jones for position behind teammate Denny Hamlin. However, he was unable to chase down the driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry at the end.
Busch was one of the many drivers within reach of a win during the 2021 Daytona 500. He was racing in the top-10 on the final lap when a massive wreck unfolded. Busch was on the top lane when the wreck occurred, but he had nowhere to go. Keselowski spun into the outside wall as Busch slammed into the side of the No. 2.
Another Champion Will Pursue the Same Goal
The driver of the No. 18 JGR Toyota Camry is not the only former champion pursuing his first win in the Daytona 500. His teammate, Martin Truex Jr., has zero wins at the superspeedway with a similar number of starts.
Truex, who has 31 Cup Series wins in his career, has made 17 starts in the Crown Jewel race without reaching Victory Lane. His best performances were a pair of runner-up finishes in 2016 and 2018. He also posted a sixth-place finish in the 2010 Daytona 500.
While Truex hasn’t captured the season-opening race’s trophy, he has secured two other Crown Jewels. He has two victories in the Coca-Cola 600 (2016, 2019) and one in the Southern 500 (2016). The only ones missing from his collection are the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Truex will have another opportunity to pursue the Crown Jewel on February 20 when he suits up for the 2022 Daytona 500. He will join Busch and the rest of the Cup Series drivers at the superspeedway and showcase the Gen 7 stock cars while battling for the checkered flag.