Race Weekend Central

Up To Speed: Martinsville Win Part of Bigger Picture for Kyle Busch

It was pretty obvious Kyle Busch was going to win a race eventually this season. The reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion’s worst finish in the first four races of the season was fourth. A 25th-place finish at Fontana was not indicative of his day considering he would finish in the top five (and possibly win) before a blown tire on the last lap wiped out any chances of that.

However, when the sixth race of the season rolled around, there was still some doubt that Busch would be able to pick up the win. Martinsville Speedway had eluded Busch in 21 previous career starts in the Cup Series and in eight previous career starts in the Camping World Truck Series.

Busch was able to check both of those things off his list this weekend, sweeping both races at Martinsville Speedway and scoring his ever victories at the half-mile racetrack.

“You know, I always probably try to overdrive this place a lot, and I feel like over the last few years, I definitely honed in on some things that helped me and some techniques that helped me, and obviously having great teammates like Denny Hamlin over the years, I’ve gotten a lot better,” Busch said post-race. “When I joined Joe Gibbs Racing, I was still hit or miss. I wasn’t very good. But then once I was really able to lean on Denny a lot and learn from Denny a lot, that helped me, and then of course having Matt [Kenseth] come on board and Carl [Edwards] last year, we all ran really well at Martinsville, so learning from all of those guys and being able to apply that here today and over the years has really helped me.”

Winning at Martinsville was yet another check mark in a box for a larger goal of Busch’s, as Martinsville was one of just a handful of tracks Busch has left to win at in his already illustrious career.

“As far as being able to check off some more races, I checked off the Truck series win yesterday,” said Busch. “I never won here at Martinsville in the trucks. I think I’ve concluded being able to win at all the active tracks that I’ve made a start in the truck series. I believe that’s right. And then I’ve got Watkins Glen left on the XFINITY side, and I’ve got I think three, Kansas, Pocono and somewhere — Charlotte. Imagine that.”

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti)
Kyle Busch was excited about his win at Martinsville, especially because he is inching closer to his goal at winning at every track on the schedule. (Photo: Zach Catanzareti)

And Busch certainly doesn’t to feel like that goal is out of reach.

“So it’s a pretty good problem to have,” he continued. “There’s not very many left on the list, but we’ve certainly put some emphasis on that over the past few years and being able to try to do that last year was a big year for us, knocking off a couple of those, as well. I’m pumped when I’m able to do that. I don’t know that many guys have ever been able to accomplish being able to win at every single active track that they’ve made starts at, and I look forward to trying to complete that feat.”

Just as an aside, Jeff Gordon won at every track that he raced at except Kentucky Speedway, an addition to the Sprint Cup Series that happened just five years before Gordon retired.

For Busch, it isn’t so much about legacy as it is about versatility. His ability as a driver cannot be questioned when he has victories on every type of racetrack.

“It’s certainly neat to be able to show your diversity and being able to go out there and win at any single style of racetrack that there is,” Busch explained. “I think that just shows talent and obviously, too, you’ve got great people behind you. This was a really good day for me, and being able to accomplish this one, this one is pretty cool. When we get down on the checklist, we’ll further on talk about that. But I’m looking forward to that, and hopefully, whether it comes all this year or whether it takes a few more years to get it all, hopefully I can be here for a little while longer and we can accomplish that.”

For the record, Busch was right. The only tracks on the Cup Series schedule he has yet to win at are Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Pocono Raceway.

For active tracks on the XFINITY Series side, he correctly mentioned Watkins Glen as having been outside his reach.

I don’t think anyone doubts his ability to win at those tracks, so one has to imagine that eventually Busch will ultimately reach his goal of winning at every track. Now, how soon that will be remains to be seen. Historically, though, Busch may wind up doing something that none of his current driver peers have ever been able to do … and who doesn’t love some historic accomplishments to go along with some great racing?

About the author

Promoted to editor in 2013, Summer is one of Frontstretch’s fast-rising young talents. While contributing to social media efforts, she also writes the weekly "Up To Speed" column. A Kansas native, Summer graduated with a Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communications in 2015. She also contributes to other media outlets such as Kickin' The Tires.

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