Kyle Busch Looks To Turn His Season Around At Darlington In The Cook Out Southern 500by Hunter Thomas August 31, 2020 0 comments
DARLINGTON, S.C. – Kyle Busch is having one of the worst seasons of his career, but the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway could provide the Joe Gibbs Racing driver with the reset that he needs for the NASCAR Playoffs.
Busch has never gone winless in the NASCAR Cup Series since he began competing full-time in 2005, but with only 10 races remaining this season, the Las Vegas native has yet to visit Victory Lane. In fact, he has five DNFs, and his average finish is 15.2. On the flip side though, Busch has finished inside the top-10 in 50% of the first 26 races this season, so it’s not all bad news.
Busch has endured a lot of bad luck this year, and the poor finishes are not necessarily a reflection of the team’s performance. For instance, this past weekend at Daytona, Busch was running second, when Tyler Reddick’s slide job block to keep the lead didn’t work, and there was a 10-car pileup. Busch was caught up in the accident and finished 33rd.
“Just a slide job gone bad,” Busch said. “Reddick threw it off into three and might have been clear, but wasn’t clear by much and started coming up the track and was losing momentum. I even had to check-up because I saw him coming and it wasn’t enough check-up and wrecked the field. I hate it for all my Interstate Batteries guys. They’ve worked so hard this year and done a great job. We put ourselves in a great spot again tonight and had a fast race car, a good driving race car and was just hoping we could maintain that position for the rest of the day and get a win, that’s what we’re trying to look for. Thought we had a shot to do that. Still 2020.”
Even though Kyle began the season with a DNF in the Daytona 500, and he ended the Regular Season with another DNF at Daytona, Busch has a very good opportunity to turn his season around with a solid finish in the Cook Out Southern 500 this weekend at Darlington Raceway.
During last year’s edition of the prestigious race, Busch finished third, and during Darlington Raceway’s doubleheader earlier this year in May when NASCAR returned from a shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he finished runner-up in the second race. In his last five starts at the Lady in Black, the 2008 Cook Out Southern 500 winner has finished inside the top-10 in four races. Three of those finishes were top-three efforts too.
A win in the Cook Out Southern 500 would certainly give Busch not only the momentum that he needs but also the advancement through the opening round of the NASCAR Playoffs. Throughout the Regular Season, Busch only won one stage, which means he’s already down on points. He’s seeded 14th of the 16 Playoff contenders, and he is 54 points behind the Regular Season champion, Kevin Harvick. A win would ensure an advancement to the second round, where he would kick off the Round of 12 at his home track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Come Sunday at the track, Too Tough To Tame, you can bet that the defending series champion and his No. 18 M&M’s Toyota team will be in full blown NASCAR Playoff mode. The Regular Season may have posed a challenge, but a point reset can turn an entire season around.
Busch’s throwback scheme this weekend at Darlington Raceway will honor M&M’s debut scheme in the NASCAR Cup Series back in 2004. The scheme was originally on Elliott Sadler’s Robert Yates Racing No. 38 Ford.
The Cook Out Southern 500 will broadcast live on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com