Can Struggling Kyle Busch Beat Miserable Fortunes at One of His Worst Tracks to Keep Richard Childress’s Championship Hopes Alive?

Published 09/08/2023, 4:48 PM EDT

Follow Us

via Imago

Weeks race by quicker when the playoffs begin. Going into Sunday, the NASCAR community will witness the 16 best drivers of the regular season battling it out at the Kansas Speedway. Among the blistering engines on the grid will also be that of the #8 Chevrolet Camaro, with Kyle Busch behind the wheels. The 38-year-old Richard Childress Racing driver is not new to the Sunflower state’s race track. He has succumbed, limped, and occasionally, soared at the speedway over the course of his long career.

America’s Favorite Video Today

But as uncertainty looms over Sunday once again, Richard Childress will be hoping that luck and the speedway favors Kyle Busch, for the driver is his only driver in the playoffs. But if history is anything to go by, the team owner wouldn’t expect much of his driver.

Kansas Speedway’s love-hate relationship with Kyle Busch

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The relationship between Busch and the Kansas Speedway dates back to 2004 when he debuted at the speedway and finished the race at P37. From there, it’d taken him 10 long years and multiple DNFs to secure his first top 5 at the track. And it wasn’t until later in 2016 that he finally managed to see the victory lane for the first time.

His words in the aftermath of his first win were a testament to his history with the track. “There’s certainly been some tough roads along the way at Kansas, but it’s nice to win this one. I wouldn’t call it a dream come true, but there’s been some horror dreams here, that’s for sure. It’s nice to have that monkey off your back.” Busch had said, as reported by The Columbian.

Trending

Get instantly notified of the hottest NASCAR stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

However, the long wait had proven its worth since Kyle appeared to have found the key to the speedway. At least for a while.

USA Today via Reuters

A long string of high-performances followed with 10 top-5 finishes and 12 top-10 finishes. But his graph threatens to spiral down again now in 2023, after his last two performances at the track. The driver’s most recent appearance at Kansas was racing for his current team. Starting the race at P16, he suffered an unfortunate accident and ended up not being able to finish the race. Not very much the ideal start.

Going in with heavy doubt about his chances on Sunday, the driver will want to take a long and hard look at the extreme 2:31 win-loss ratio that he holds at Kansas.

Watch Story: Denny Hamlin Mocks Kyle Busch After Extending His Contract With Joe Gibbs Racing

Where do Richard Childress and Kyle Busch stand with their hopes of winning a championship?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

When Kyle Busch was signed from his long-term team Joe Gibbs Racing, every mouth in NASCAR speculated that he could be the charm that would see RCR win the championship once again since 1994. Speaking to the media after signing the driver back in September, Richard Childress had emotionally acknowledged his desire to win the next Cup championship. Placing his confidence behind Kyle, he’d said,

“I know I’ve got a driver here, not that I haven’t had drivers that could do it, not that Austin (Dillon) can’t do it… but I think it increases our odds with Kyle in there to win a championship for our car.”

Fielding two cars in the Cup Series this season, Richard Childress saw one of them go through to the playoffs after the regular season finale at Daytona. Kyle Busch is his only chance for the title as things stand. Going into the playoff opener at Darlington last weekend, he would have expected the best from his driver, and he did end up delivering with a P11 finish. He currently stands 7th in the driver standings with 2050 points.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Going to Kansas, Kyle will need to rely on things other than luck and fortune. Will he beat his tough odds and be the echo of Dale Earnhardt Sr to bring their team the championship title again? The answer rests in the driver’s words from NASCAR’s media day last month. He’d said, “But more importantly, just make that final four. The potential is there. The stuff is there. The team is there. We just have to execute, and that starts with me.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Written by:

Gowtham Ramalingam

365Articles

One take at a time

Gowtham Ramalingam is a NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. His love for motorsports stems from his fascination with Formula 1. Possessing an obsession for anything with an engine, the roads eventually led him to the raw grounds of NASCAR and he has been an avid fan of the sport ever since.
Show More>

Edited by:

Nischal Kandpal

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

EDITORS' PICK

America’s Favorite Video Today