LAS VEGAS — Kyle Busch hit his first speedbump of the season Saturday, when he wrecked one car and scraped the wall with another.
Busch is NASCAR's hottest driver heading into today's UAW Dodge 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and the locals have made him a 4-1 favorite to win on his hometown track. The Sprint Cup leader starts from the pole in his new Toyota, which suffered just slight damage when he bounced it off the wall in Saturday's final practice.
Despite his 31st-place finish later in the Nationwide Series race when a blown tire caused him to wreck, Busch's torrid start has the industry abuzz.
"Right now, he is the wheel man of the series," respected veteran Mark Martin said. "When you watch Jeff Gordon drive, Jeff Gordon goes really fast. But you don't see a whole lot there other than going fast.
"You watch Kyle Busch drive and not only is he going fast, he's taking your breath, too."
A win in Vegas — where Busch has finished second, third and ninth — would make history. No driver has won from the pole in 10 Cup races here.
"It's pretty special to be on pole at home track," he said. "It'll be even better in Victory Lane at the end of 400 miles."
In addition to his spot atop the Cup standings, Busch is leading the Truck Series points.
In just his fourth full season of Cup racing, Busch, 22, is drawing comparisons to the late Tim Richmond because of his aggressive, wide-open style and impressive car control.
"I just felt all along that he was going to have a great opportunity in this sport, and he has fallen into a category like Tim Richmond," said older brother, Kurt, the 2004 series champion.
"I like his tenacity, his aggressiveness, his belief of, 'Hey man, I'm just here to win. I don't care about anything else.' "