A ‘Nose’ for Victory at Richmond
HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (April 14, 2021) – A quick look at Kyle Busch’s NASCAR Cup Series statistics at Richmond (Va.) Raceway shows six career victories at the .75-mile short track – most among active drivers.
In addition to his six career wins there, the stat sheet for the driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Red Nose Day Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) also shows 18 top-five finishes and 23 top-10s in 30 career starts there, making him the most consistent active drivers at the track located in the “Capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Additionally, the Las Vegas native is tops among active drivers with his average Richmond finishing position of 6.8. Next best there is Kevin Harvick’s average finish of 7.9. Busch has completed all but one of the 12,029 laps available to him in his 30 Richmond starts. Of those laps completed, Busch has run in the top-15 for 10,691 laps, or 88.9 percent, which ranks second to Harvick’s 93.0 percent among active drivers.
Busch will have the familiar M&M’S Red Nose Day scheme on board for Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400, the scheme that went to victory lane with Busch at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City in May 2016. Red Nose Day is a campaign with the mission to end child poverty by funding programs that keep children safe, healthy, educated and empowered. M&M’S has raised more than $7 million for Red Nose Day with the racecar scheme elevating the awareness among race fans each year since 2015. Fans can grab a digital Red Nose at RedNoseDay.org and Walgreens.com, with the money raised going to help kids around the world.Busch and the M&M’S Red Nose Day team look to get back to victory lane at Richmond where, in addition to the 2018 sweep of the spring and fall races, Busch also won four consecutive Cup Series spring races from 2009 to 2012, besting Richard Petty’s previous record of three Richmond spring-race wins in a row from 1971 to 1973.
With those impressive statistics and records to back him up, it’s little wonder that a visit to the Virginia capital is one of Busch’s favorite stops on the NASCAR tour.
So, as the series heads to Richmond for the first time this season, Busch and the M&M’S Red Nose Day team hope to follow their noses to victory lane yet again with their seventh Richmond victory.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M'S Red Nose Day Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
What does it take to get around Richmond?
“Richmond is getting a little trickier, it seems like, just with the asphalt kind of getting older and the way the cars are. The consensus at Richmond is, of course, just trying to get your car to turn, but also having really good forward bite. You have to be able to get off the corners at Richmond. You have to have good brakes, as well, and be able to turn the center. All of it correlates. Everything you want as a racecar driver, you’ve got to have most all of it and, if you don’t, then you better hope you have more forward bite than the rest of them. That’s sort of the equation of Richmond. It’s a fun place to race. It’s really cool. As a driver, you wish it could widen out and give you more options of being able to run around in different grooves, but it hasn’t shown us that the last couple of years. We’re hoping to get our M&M’S Red Nose Day Camry back to form there and we’d like to get another victory there, for sure.”
What is it about Richmond that suits your driving style?
“I love Richmond. It’s one of my favorite racetracks and one of my best racetracks. I love being able to go there and, of course, we put on some pretty good races there. We won four spring races in a row and both races in 2018, so that was cool. It’s a neat racetrack and it’s certainly an excitement track and there is a lot of action that happens there.”
Can you compare Bristol and Richmond?
“There’s really no comparison between racetracks, honestly, because Charlotte, Texas, Atlanta – they all look the same from overhead, but they all drive not even close to the same. Richmond and Bristol are more like oil and water, more like day and night. Bristol is an attack-type racetrack yet, when you attack, you can get yourself in trouble. Richmond is a very methodical racetrack and you have to be very – you’re very on edge there all the time, especially corner entry, getting into the corners. You’re always loose there and you have to be able to be loose there in order to carry the speed through the middle and have good drive off. Daytime allows the racetrack to widen out and be hotter where, on a cooler racetrack when we run at night in the fall, you’re looking for where the rubber is for at least a little while until the whole track rubbers in, and then you have to go back to the bottom, anyway.”
What is it about Richmond that suits your driving style?
“I don’t know, over the years – I started out really bad there. My first Truck Series race there was horrible. I think I ran into everything but the hot dog stand. The next time I went there was with Hendrick (Motorsports) in the Busch Series in 2004 when they first repaved the track and I ran really well, we were able to win that race and I led the most laps and won. From that point forward, I feel like I kind of learned or had a sense of what it takes to be fast there and what you need to be able to do to win there. As the years have gone on, the racetrack has definitely aged, it’s definitely gone through some transition, it’s lost a lot of grip. There have been some changes in that respect, as well, just trying to figure out, ‘OK, what’s next. What’s the next thing that’s going to keep you on top of your game at Richmond.’ It’s always been a good track for me, I enjoy going there. It’s a fun short track. It’s a very challenging short track that doesn’t lend itself to typical short tracks around the country. That kind of lends itself to some different ideas and concepts that you have to be ready for, and myself and Denny (Hamlin) and Martin (Truex Jr.), and Carl (Edwards) and Matt (Kenseth) when they were with us, I think we’ve all won there at Richmond in Joe Gibbs Racing Camrys. We certainly have a good basis of our cars that tend to run well there.”
● Event: Toyota Owners 400 (Round 9 of 36)
● Time/Date: 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 18
● Location: Richmond (Va.) International Raceway
● Layout: .75-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 400 laps/300 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 155 laps / Final Stage: 165 laps
● TV/Radio: FOX / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Notes of Interest:
● Get Out the Broom: Busch swept both races at Richmond in 2018, as he brought home his fifth career spring race win there that year and his first in the fall race. Both 2018 wins came from a starting position outside the top-10. Busch will roll off 10th in this Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400.
● Short-Track Ace: Busch has shown quite the propensity to win at NASCAR’s core short tracks. In addition to his five wins at Richmond, Busch has eight wins in NASCAR’s top series at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and two wins to his credit at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway for his 15 total wins on the three short tracks alone.
● Richmond Stats: Busch has six wins, 18 top-five finishes and 23 top-10s and has led a total of 1,488 laps in 30 career Cup Series starts at Richmond. Busch’s average Richmond finish is 6.8, tops among active drivers.
● Spring is in the Air: While Busch added a win in the fall Richmond race to his resume in 2018, the two-time Cup Series champion has shined in the spring race there. His four consecutive Cup Series spring-race wins from 2009 to 2012 bested Richard Petty’s previous record of three Richmond spring-race wins in a row from 1971 to 1973. Busch also won the 2018 spring race at Richmond.
● Bundle of Joy Helmet: Busch will wear a custom-painted Stilo race helmet in honor of the Bundle of Joy Fund at Richmond on Sunday afternoon to kick off National Infertility Awareness Week. The one-of-a-kind helmet was designed by Brexton, Kyle and Samantha Busch and painted by OffAxis Paint in Mooresville, North Carolina. The helmet is green and white with plenty of sparkle, and the back features a photo of Brexton’s first race win as a driver. All proceeds of the raffle will benefit the Bundle of Joy Fund to provide grants to help remove financial barriers for couples fighting infertility. Since 2015, the fund has helped 70 couples, with 37 babies born and five more on the way this year. The raffle begins April 16 and ends May 18, 2021. Tickets are $18 and can be purchased at www.bundleofjoyfund.org.
● Double Duty: In addition to Sunday’s Cup Series race, Busch will be busy behind the wheel this weekend as he’ll compete for his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) team in Saturday afternoon’s Camping World Truck Series race at Richmond. Saturday’s race will be Busch’s third of five starts in the series this year. Last month, he had a runner-up finish at his hometown Las Vegas Motor Speedway and a victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway.