Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Headed to home of wins

Kyle Busch had NASCAR’s first three-race weekend sweep at Bristol in 2010, winning in Sprint Cup, Nationwide and trucks.

Getty Images

Kyle Busch had NASCAR’s first three-race weekend sweep at Bristol in 2010, winning in Sprint Cup, Nationwide and trucks.

BRISTOL, Tenn. — His hometown track didn't work any magic for Kyle Busch. Perhaps the one at which he is most successful can.

Busch is off to a bumpy start this season, and a disappointing time last weekend at Las Vegas added to his woes. He qualified second but wrecked his primary car in practice, then hit the wall in the race with his backup on his way to finishing 23rd.

He enters today's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway 12th in points, with one top-10 finish, a sixth at Phoenix.

Bristol isn't home for Busch like Vegas, but he is very familiar with Victory Lane there. In 14 starts at the fast, half-mile concrete oval, Busch has five wins, his most at any track in the Sprint Cup series. He has finished outside the Top 10 only four times.

Busch isn't sure why he is so comfortable at Bristol.

"Ever since I got through my rookie year, I've just taken a liking to the place. Of course, I've been able to get some help from my brother (Kurt). He's always been really, really good there," Kyle said. "When they changed the track to this current surface, I just really took to it right away.

"You really have to be on your game, because you make one mistake, or someone else makes one mistake, that's it."

Busch hasn't had to deal with many mistakes at Bristol. After his first two visits, in which he finished 28th and 33rd, he has never finished worse than 17th.

Three times Busch has led more than half of the race's 500 laps. Yet even someone so dominant has had to adjust.

"My driving style has changed at Bristol — a lot. Bristol used to be a track where you could charge the corners a little bit and get it right in and down to the bottom of the track," he said. "You kind of would go through the middle of the corner and then slingshot out on the exits.

"Now, it's just so smooth that you're easy in, you're kind of easy through the center, and easy off (the corners). The track is a little slower than I think it was because they reduced some banking in order to put sort of the progressive banking into it to make the outside groove better."

A win or a good performance at Bristol can quickly turn things around for Busch. That happened last season.

Busch entered Bristol fresh off a 38th-place finish at Las Vegas and was 14th in points. He left with a win and was on his way to a berth in the Chase for the Championship and a four-win season.

Regardless of the situation, however, Busch won't stray from what has gotten him this far.

"You do have to keep conscious of not putting yourself in bad positions or wrecking out and finishing back in the 20s or 30s," he said. "Small mistakes can become much bigger very fast at Bristol."


Food City 500

1 p.m., Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway

TV: Ch. 13


Sprint Cup points

Through 3 of 36 races. The top 10 drivers plus two wild cards (based on wins) through 26 races make the Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts. Back

Greg Biffle 125—

Kevin Harvick 115 10

Denny Hamlin 113 12

D. Earnhardt Jr. 107 18

Matt Kenseth 102 23

Carl Edwards 102 23

Tony Stewart 100 25

Martin Truex 98 27

Joey Logano 98 27

Mark Martin 97 28

Headed to home of wins 03/17/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 17, 2012 9:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL Week 7: What we learned


    Are the Purple People Eaters back in Minnesota? The Vikings sacked Joe Flacco five times and held the Ravens to 208 total yards in a 24-16 home victory, their third straight win. QB Case Keenum looked ordinary with a 67.7 passer rating after completing 20-of-31 for 188 yards and an interception. Kai Forbath …

    Trainers, top, check Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas after Thomas was hurt in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) OHTD122
  2. Bills' comeback against Bucs a win for the process


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It hasn't taken Sean McDermott long to understand how to play to his base. Asked if the Bills had "gotten away with one" Sunday, the first-year coach gushed about his team reflecting the character of the town.

    Under first-year coach Sean McDermott, the Bills are 3-0 at home for the first time in six years. “I love playing here,” he says.
  3. No. 18 UCF closes in on USF, which drops to No. 17


    USF remained ahead of UCF in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday — just barely.

  4. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series


    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
  5. Jones: Where are the difference-makers on the Bucs defense?


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — They can't tackle. They can't cover. They can't pressure the quarterback, let alone sack him.

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) scrambles past Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]