Looking For a Fall Richmond Win

HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (Sept. 18, 2018) – A quick look at Kyle Busch’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series statistics at Richmond (Va.) Raceway shows five career victories at the .75-mile short track that is most among active drivers.

The most recent of his five Richmond victories came this past April to cap a string of three race wins in a row that came on consecutive weekends this spring.

In addition to his five career wins, the driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry to Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) Richmond stat sheet also shows 16 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s in 26 career starts there, making him the most consistent active drivers at the track located in the “Capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

The Las Vegas native is at the top among active drivers at Richmond with his average finishing position of 7.2. Next best is Kevin Harvick’s average finish of 8.3. Busch has completed all but one of the 10,426 laps available to him in his 26 Richmond starts. Of those, Busch has run in the top-15 for 9,241 laps, or 88.6 percent, which ranks second among active drivers.

Despite his success, there remains one void on Busch’s Richmond resume – a victory in the track’s annual fall race. For the first time ever, Richmond is part of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs this weekend, and Busch would like nothing more than for that first fall victory at the track to automatically advance him into the Round of 12. Busch emerged second in the standings after his seventh-place finish in last weekend’s playoff opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With two races to go in the Round of 16, he sits just two points behind playoff leader Martin Truex Jr. 

Back to Busch’s five career spring-race wins at Richmond – four of those came consecutively from 2009 to 2012, besting Richard Petty’s previous record of three Richmond spring-race wins in a row from 1971 to 1973. With his impressive statistics and records to back him up, it’s little wonder that a visit to Richmond is one of Busch’s favorite stops on the NASCAR tour.   

So, as the series heads back to Richmond in its new spot as the second playoff race, Busch and the M&M’S team look to bring home their sixth career win there. Whether or not they make it back to victory lane, history has shown they’ll have the driver and team everyone will be on the lookout for with the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs in full swing.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M'S 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 Camry another win there like we did in April.”

Is a win at a premium right now?

“I think wins are always important and I think the biggest thing now is that each (playoff) round kind of has its own wild-card race, if you look at it – you’ve got the “roval” in the first round, Talladega in the second round and then Martinsville kind of turned into a crazy race in the third round. It’s all just going to be about trying to maintain and have a good day. If you can get top-five finishes, great, that’s going to propel us through with the amount of points we have and the point cushion we have, but wins are the ultimate. If you can get those, then you’re automatically in and that’s what we all strive for.”

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 I would have loved to have made it five or more. It’s a neat racetrack and it’s certainly an excitement track and there is a lot of action that happens there.”

Why is Joe Gibbs Racing so strong at Richmond?

“I think a lot of it comes from Denny (Hamlin), being that it’s his home track. I’ve been good there in Hendrick and JGR cars. But Denny and I really feed off each other an awful lot at Richmond. We use each other a ton there, just to be sure we can beat the rest of the competition, of course. We do like similar setups there, unlike some other places we run. Richmond is one of those places where we both know what it takes to get around and we’re both similar to one another in that we both run well.”

Can you compare Bristol and Richmond, both places where you’ve been successful? 

“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 than oil and water, more than 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 – you’re very much 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.”

Do you enjoy the atmosphere at Richmond?

“I think the coolest thing about Richmond is the atmosphere they have there with all the fans really getting into it. People love coming there and supporting that racetrack. It’s been around for a long time. It’s a fast racetrack. It’s only a three-quarter-mile oval but it has really high speeds that makes it fun for us drivers and makes excitement that’s fun for a fan. Martinsville is a short track and it’s slow, but Richmond is pretty quick.”

Notes of Interest:

  • The Federated Auto Parts 400 will mark Kyle Busch’s 490th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 27th NASCAR Cup Series start at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.
  • Busch has career totals of 49 wins, 30 poles, 178 top-five finishes, 263 top-10s and 15,498 laps led in 489 career Cup Series racesHis most recent Cup Series win came seven races ago at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. Busch’s most recent pole, the 30th of his career, came at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May.
  • Busch has five wins, 16 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s and has led a total of 1,091 laps in 26 career Cup Series starts at Richmond. Busch’s average Richmond finish is 7.2.
  • Playoffs: Busch started the playoffs last week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the No. 1 seed and has 50 playoff points available to carry through during each round. Busch enters Richmond second in the standings, just two points behind series leader Martin Truex Jr., with two races to go in Round of 16.