There’s just something about Auto Club Speedway that gets Kyle Busch marching toward Victory Lane seemingly more often than not.
Although he grew up about three hours away in Las Vegas, the younger Busch brother has taken to the 2-mile, high-speed track like a duck to water, becoming one of the most successful racers ever to compete there.
Busch heads into this weekend’s Sprint Cup and Xfinity races having captured the checkered flag 11 times at ACS over the years, including three in Sprint Cup, six in the Xfinity Series and twice (in two tries) in the Camping World Truck Series.
In a sense, ACS owes Busch another Cup win – or at least a strong performance. After winning the Cup races there in 2013 and 2014, he was unable to compete in last year’s race (as well as the Xfinity race) because he was in the midst of recovering from injuries sustained in an Xfinity race at Daytona Beach in February 2015.
Now fully healed, Busch is hoping to resume his winning streak and good fortune there.
“The finishes of both of those races (2013 and 2014) were pretty exciting,” Busch said in a media release. “Of course, I won both so that makes it even better for me.
“The track is just down the road from Toyota Racing Development (TRD) headquarters, and our wins there were the first two Sprint Cup wins for them at their hometown track.”
“I’m hoping we can get our M&M’s Camry back to victory lane there and win three races in a row – at least in the races I’ve been able to run in.”
Busch’s scorecard at ACS is stout:
* In 17 Sprint Cup starts, 3 wins, 8 top-fives and 12 top-10s, plus one pole.
* In 16 Xfinity starts, he has a track record six wins, 10 top-fives and 13 top-10s, plus three poles. That includes wins in six of his last nine starts there, the most recent being in 2013.
* In 2 Truck Series starts, he won both times.
ACS is one of the fastest and widest tracks on the NASCAR circuit. Drivers are able to go pretty much wherever they want – and Busch certainly falls in that category.
He’s been part of several four- and five-wide packs heading into one of the track’s turns. And while the track has aged over time, it’s aged gracefully. Still, it’s one rough customer.
“That place is tough,” Busch said. “It’s really a hard racetrack to get ahold of, now, especially when it’s hot and the sun is out.
“There are two completely different types of racing when you run the top versus the bottom groove. You can run from the top to the bottom, but when you run the bottom, you really feel like you’re puttering around the racetrack. You feel like you aren’t making up any time on the bottom.
“But when you are running the top groove, you feel like you’re getting the job done. The guys who run the bottom have a little bit more patience and handle it better than the guys who are on the gas on top.”
Having visited Victory Lane 11 times thus far at Fontana, Busch looks to make it an even dozen with a win either Saturday or Sunday – and potentially a baker’s dozen of 13 if he’s able to sweep both ends of the weekend racing action there.
“It’s a fast racetrack and you just have to be able carry a lot of speed through the corners,” Busch said. “You’re in the corner for a long time but, the more speed you carry through the turn, the better it makes your straightaways.
“It’s a big, fast racetrack and I’m hoping we can get M&M’S their first win during their 75th anniversary celebration year.”