Can another Phoenix win change Kyle Busch's playoff narrative?

There are many reasons why a win at ISM Raceway near Phoenix would help Kyle Busch this weekend but perhaps none better than simply to show that he’s still a player for the series championship.

Can another Phoenix win change Kyle Busch's playoff narrative?
Race Winner, Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry SKITTLES
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry SKITTLES wins
Race Winner, Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry SKITTLES
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's, Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing, Chevrolet Camaro RigUp
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's
 Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Halloween
 Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Halloween
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Interstate Batteries
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Hazelnut

Statistically, Kyle Busch has had another strong season with four victories and 15 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes in 33 races. 

Busch, however, hasn’t won since June at Pocono. He is still ranked third in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings although he has four finishes of 14th or worse in eight playoff races.

Entering Sunday’s race at Phoenix, Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick already own two of the four spots in the Championship 4 that will compete for the series title in Homestead.

Busch holds a two-point advantage over Joey Logano over the remaining six playoff drivers. If one of the six doesn’t win at Phoenix, the final two positions at Homestead will be filled based on points.

“We all know one guy is going to move through on points and we have to do whatever we have to do in order to be that guy,’’ said Busch.

“If we can obviously go to Phoenix and have a strong run and be able to go out there and win that will put us through, as well.”

Read Also:

While Busch has not been as competitive for wins the second half of the season, Phoenix does offer him an excellent chance at redemption.

One of Busch’s four wins this season came in the spring race at the track, when he led 177 of the 312 laps. He is also the only driver to win at Phoenix in the two races since the facility completed a major renovation and re-configuration last year.

“I really like Phoenix and we won there in the spring but that was nine months ago,” Busch said. So, when we go back there, a lot’s going on in the development of everybody’s cars and things like that for this season.

“The last couple times we’ve been to Phoenix, we’ve run pretty good. Hopefully, that can translate to this time around again. I’m optimistic about it. I think we can do OK. 

“It’s just a matter of running another clean race and not making mistakes. We look forward to the challenge.”

Busch has seven top-five finishes in his last eight races at Phoenix, including two consecutive victories.

A strong finish would likely send him to Homestead to compete for the series championship.

A win, however, would not only lock him in the Championship 4 but it could also change the narrative of what has been so far a disappointing playoffs.

A sweep of Phoenix this season could also remind his fans – and perhaps even his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team – that for much of this season they have been a championship favorite.


shares
comments
Why ride swaps always leave F1 drivers wanting more

Previous article

Why ride swaps always leave F1 drivers wanting more

Next article

Spring Phoenix winner Kyle Busch tops Friday's first practice

Spring Phoenix winner Kyle Busch tops Friday's first practice
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Phoenix II
Drivers Kyle Busch
Author Jim Utter
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020
Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture Prime

Why Kyle Larson deserves his second chance in a cancel culture

“You can’t hear me? Hey n*****” Those fateful words uttered by Kyle Larson, spoken into his esports headset on April 12, were directed at his sim racing spotter – but instead they quickly became amplified around the world via social media, including his own Twitch stream.

NASCAR Cup
Oct 29, 2020