Kyle Busch Wins Final Race At Auto Club Speedway, Surpasses Richard Petty For Most Consecutive Seasons With A Victoryby Hunter Thomas February 26, 2023 0 comments
FONTANA, Calif. – In only his second points race with Richard Childress Racing (RCR), Kyle Busch piloted his No. 8 Lucas Oil Chevrolet to Victory Lane in the final NASCAR Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway.
Heading into the 2023 season, the NASCAR industry and its fans didn’t know what to expect when Busch made to the move to RCR. For 15 years, Busch drove for Joe Gibbs Racing, and now for the first time since 2007, he was piloting a Chevrolet instead of a Toyota. Busch was competitive in the Busch Clash, and he was in position to win the 65th running of the Daytona 500.
“Well, this is the first race nobody ran into me,” Busch said. “I held my own destiny today, and I felt like I did a good job of that. But every other race this year I’ve been run over, so I’ve been getting — my results haven’t been indicative to how we’ve been running.”
On Sunday, Busch led the second most laps in the Pala Casino 400 en route to winning the last-ever NASCAR Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway. The victory marked his fifth at the track, the site where he won his first-ever NASCAR Cup Series race back in 2005.
“Truthfully, no” Busch said when asked if he thought that he’d compete for wins this early in the season. “I felt like there was going to be a little bit of a learning experience, a little bit of a growth pattern, but also on the flipside of that, I always just kind of looked back and watched some of their (RCR) results and success that they had last year with Austin (Dillon). He ran second here last year, and (Tyler) Reddick was super, super fast. They were fast at the Clash before they broke, the 8 car was.
“It’s just been really, really cool, and it’s been a great piece of — we’re making history, right, but a great piece of opportunity to go out there and continue to win races at a new team with RCR, so I can’t say enough about Austin giving me a call, first and foremost, but then Richard and Judy giving me this opportunity to go out here and race for wins.”
The win was impressive just due to the unique circumstance; however, the victory was also a historic feat as well. Busch surpassed Richard Petty for most consecutive seasons with a win. The victory on Sunday marked Busch’s 19th consecutive season with a win in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“Richard Petty had that record,” Busch said. “He and I were tied at 18. There’s not very many records that you can beat that Richard Petty has, and certainly that was one that I set early on a long, long time ago that I always wanted to achieve and get, so I’m just so thankful for the opportunity to set that bar and would love to continue to keep raising it.”
Not only is Busch piloting a new ride and breaking series records, but fans had a very different reaction when he climbed out of the car to celebrate. Typically, Busch is welcomed to loud boos, but fans in California cheered the Las Vegas native during his post-race celebration on the frontstretch.
“Yeah, man, Rowdy Nation is growing, loud and proud,” Busch said. “Watch out, we’re going to take over. It’s just fun to see them and to give them something to cheer for again and to have an opportunity like today to win a race this early in the season, get everybody juked up and excited and also continue to hopefully have more races like this where we’re able to win, get some of those playoff points, kind of stockpile them a little bit so we can have a good time at the end of the year.”
Now, the NASCAR Cup Series will visit Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the third points race of the season. It’s at track where Busch has performed very well throughout his career. He only has one win (2009), but in 22 races, Busch has accumulated 11 top-five finishes and a total average finish of 10.8. With the momentum that Busch and his RCR team have built up, look for Rowdy to be contended next weekend in Vegas.
“I would say that we need to continue on and pour the gas on the fire right now and go out there and continue to get wins and have fast cars and run up front,” Busch said. “We want to get those playoff points. Playoff points is a big deal for the end of the year. I’ve won a couple championships having a lot of playoff points, and the couple of years I haven’t had a lot of playoff points I haven’t made it very far. I know what’s important, so hopefully we can get some more of that.”
The Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will broadcast live on FOX at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 5.
Photo Credit: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images