Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch won his first NASCAR race of the season on Sunday, taking the checkered flag at Kansas Speedway. This win gave him 17 straight seasons with a trip to Victory Lane, moving him one step closer to history. He tied David Pearson and drew within one season of “The King” Richard Petty.
The 36-year-old driver met with the media members on Sunday night after the exciting race. He joked about how the Buschy McBusch Race 400 was a fitting event for him to win, and then he celebrated notching No. 58 on his birthday. Busch also responded to the momentous achievement by saying that it gave him “chills” to be only one season behind Petty’s mark.
“It’s cool. It gives me chills,” Busch said during his media availability. “I don’t know if I got the chill from the air conditioning or actually hearing that. It’s meaningful. It’s a huge accomplishment. I feel like any accomplishment that is out there that’s able to be achieved is something to be honored with.
“Being able to do it 17 years now and, hopefully, being able to go on to 18, 19, 20 years, whatever it is,” Busch continued. “There’s not many things that you’ll be able to beat The King at, that’s for darn sure. Hopefully, we can continue that tradition and make sure that we get to 18, get to 19, and so on.”
Busch first raced to Victory Lane during the 2005 season
The 36-year-old Busch burst onto the scene in 2004, the same year that his older brother Kurt won the Cup Series championship. He started six races for Hendrick Motorsports and posted a season-best finish of 24th. He returned to the Cup Series on a full schedule the following year, winning the first two races of his career.
Since his win at Fontana, Busch has continued to do so at least once every season. He posted a career-high eight wins in 2008 and then reached the mark once again in 2018. Of course, Busch’s two most successful seasons were ones in which he only reached Victory Lane five times. These two seasons — 2015 and 2019 — were both years where Busch won the Cup championship.
While he ended the 2019 season as the best driver in NASCAR, Busch did not replicate his success during the COVID-altered 2020 schedule. He dealt with numerous issues throughout the year, crashing in five races and dealing with engine problems in another.
Busch’s streak nearly came to an end during the 2020 season, but he managed to reach Victory Lane one time. He held off teammate Martin Truex Jr. at Texas Motor Speedway to capture the AutoTrader EchoPark Automotive 500. This win kept Busch’s streak alive and set him up with the opportunity to tie Pearson.
The Buschy McBusch Race 400 was a ‘confidence booster’
Heading toward Sunday’s race at Kansas, Busch had two top-fives on his stat sheet, but he had yet to reach Victory Lane. However, he quickly realized that the No. 18 JGR Toyota Camry was primed and ready for him to contend for the win at the best possible time.
“We had a strong car, we ran up front all day,” Busch told the media on Sunday. “Dropped the green flag, we were heading toward the front. That was obviously a confidence booster. Just kept trying to make little adjustments to the car all day long to get it where we wanted it closer there toward the end.
“Nothing was really hitting on it and making it better, but the final two adjustments definitely were a positive for us. Didn’t necessarily take us from a third-place car to a winning car, but all of the restarts and circumstances did and got us in the right position when we needed it.”
Busch will now have the opportunity to build on his win during the upcoming trip to Darlington. The veteran driver has 18 starts and five top-fives at the Track Too Tough to Tame, including a second-place finish in 2020. He also has one win at Darlington, which he registered in 2008.