Busch thinks he's got Bristol figured out
A good record at Bristol has Kyle Busch aiming confidently for the top this weekend, writes Rupen Fofaria.
Kyle Busch has his fair share of concerns about the Car of Tomorrow. But that's a worry for Sunday in the Nextel Cup race. So far this season, Busch has not won a Busch Series race and he's looking forward to Bristol Motor Speedway -- a venue where, in five Busch Series starts, he's won once, finished in the top five three times and finished top-10 four times.
On Saturday, Busch will attempt to defend his Busch Series victory from last March at Bristol.
"Winning at Bristol is one of the biggest wins a driver can have," Busch said. "For me, it was a lot of fun to run that well [last year]. In the Busch Series, I've had two third-place finishes there and a top-10 again last fall, so we seem to have the Busch car figured out at Bristol."
"There's no doubt that the No. 5 Sta-Green/Lowe's team is a force to be reckoned with," he said. "We've been in contention to win every time we've been on the racetrack."
Busch has seen some inconsistent outings in the Cup Series, where he's ranked 14th. So even though he's seen some late-race disappointments in the Busch Series, he's just excited that he's in a position to win every time out.
Busch has led laps in all but one of the Busch races he's entered. More importantly, he's found a way to be near the lead late in the race. For his Busch aspirations, that's all that matters: Keep knocking on the door until he finally gets into the winner's circle.
"We know we've got great race cars," he said. "The stats show that we're capable of leading laps. As a team, we just want that trophy so we have something to show for it. For all the guys on the road and back at the shop, finally getting that trophy this year will mean a lot when it happens."
Shane Huffman is excited to race against his boss, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who he's raced against twice before. In the past two events they raced each other, neither fared well, ending their days with wrecks.
"I plan on beating him this weekend," Huffman said.
While Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth have better average finishing positions at Bristol Motor Speedway, Ryan Newman has a knack for running up front, too. Newman has the best average running position in the series over the past four races. His average finish, a 3.5, isn't far off Harvick's average of second, either.
"We had a very good run going [here] last August, earning our first pole at the track in the Busch Series and leading so many laps," Newman said. "I think if we'd had a few more laps, we could've passed the last five cars and gotten into Victory Lane. We're going to try to have that same kind of success this weekend and I think this team is absolutely capable of getting the win."
Bobby Hamilton Jr., who lost his father over the offseason, returned to full-time Busch racing this year and the Nashville native will compete in his home state for the first time in nearly three years. The 15th-ranked driver should be a Tennessee crowd favorite.
Rupen Fofaria has covered NASCAR for ESPN.com since 2002. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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