Las Vegas natives Kurt and Kyle Busch are unquestionably the fan favorites this weekend. For the reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle, it’s about adding to his winnings. He’s already won a Cup Series race, two in the Xfinity Series and a pair of Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series races at the track.
Unfortunately for Kyle Busch, 34, he suffered another early exit from the Daytona 500 – making the two-time Cup champion 0-for-16 in the sport’s biggest race. He couldn’t be more motivated to get back on track at his hometown track, where in 2009 he won from the pole position to become its youngest Cup Series winner (23 years, nine months, 27 days). He remains the only driver to win from pole position at Vegas.
He’s finished seventh or better in four of the last six Cup races at Las Vegas, including third-place in this race last March. Twice he’s finished runner-up (in 2005 and 2018). His seven top-five finishes are tied for tops among those on the grid this week.
He’s entered in a Late Model race Thursday night at Las Vegas’s famed “Bullring” and will compete in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series race on Friday night as well.
“Vegas always means a little bit more pressure – more pressure on myself – just because it’s the hometown and you want to win there,’’ Busch conceded. “Thankfully, I have won there, and I’ve knocked that one off the list, but certainly you want to win there every year.
“I love Vegas, the atmosphere and everything going on around that place.’’
For older brother Kurt, 41, the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series champion, it’s about finally finding a way to Las Vegas Motor Speedway Victory Lane. He has won a pair of pole positions (2010, 2016), but his best finish in 20 starts is third-place in 2005. Busch scored his only other top-five in this race last year, finishing fifth and leading 23 laps in his Vegas debut for Chip Ganassi Racing.
After leaving the Daytona 500 last week in the 19-car crash on Lap 184 of the race, Kurt Busch comes to Las Vegas eager to turn his fortune around.
“Lady Luck was not on our side,’’ Kurt Busch said at Daytona.
“That’s a roulette wheel people. The roulette wheel spins, and it grabs your number and it grabbed my number. Maybe Vegas will be a little better.’’