WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — To put into perspective how strong Kyle Busch has been at Watkins Glen International, lets start with the numbers. Busch is a two-time winner at Watkins Glen –- capturing the checkers in 2008 and the most recent race in 2013. In his nine totals starts here, only once — just once — has he finished outside the top-10, when he finished 33rd is his first Sprint Cup Series start in 2005.
Busch also has a run of eight straight top-10 starts with two poles since 2006.
Those are two very outstanding eight consecutive top-10 runs at a track that many call among the most unpredictable and treacherous of the year.
Now before you think it’s the “Road Course Crush”, drivers who run well at Watkins Glen who also run well at the second road course of Sonoma Raceway, think again.
In his 10 starts at Sonoma, he only has two finishes inside the top-10 — one of which was a win in 2008 when he swept the road races. Since that win almost six years ago, he has failed to finish higher than 11th. So the question we are all wondering is, why?
“Every single time I’ve been to Sonoma, I’ve been wrecked so that’s why the results are so bad there,” said Busch. “I think its been eight or nine races in a row or something at Sonoma where I have been spun out and here (Watkins Glen) I tend to be fast enough to be out front to not have people around me and don’t get spun out. Knock on wood and go into Sunday I guess.”
With the momentum of being the defending Watkins Glen winner paired with the up and down performance over the last five races — finishes of 2nd, 28th, 2nd, 2nd, and 42nd – we can expect anything from the 29-year-old to try and lock himself into the chase.
“I feel like were sure enough to make the Chase, but like I said, we want to be able to win,” said Busch on Friday during Nationwide Series practice. “ I felt like we had a chance last week to get ourselves locked in, but that obviously was cut short.”
Well remembered by NASCAR fans, the last three races here at Watkins Glen have produced some of the most memorable finishes of the century. All three in fact involved the same three drivers: Brad Keselowski, Marcos Ambrose and Busch.
By the look of Friday’s first practice speeds, with all three placing in the top-10, we could see the same nail-biter of a race — and Busch predicts it.
“ I think there are three favorites because they have been the top three guys here the last three or four years. Its myself, the No.2 (Keselowski) and the No.9 (Ambrose). I think you’re going to see those three cars fast. I think its just going to be us three trying to figure out who is going to win it.”