May 8, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
The news for “Shrub” doesn’t get much better this weekend in terms of his day job: it’s the first time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Kansas Speedway this year, and it’s been Busch’s personal house of horrors since his first start at the track in October of 2004.
In 13 starts, Busch has an average start of 16.5 and an average finish of 23.3. Yet that finish would be a step forward by nearly 10 positions after his last three races at the track, where he has crashed out of all three and ended 31st, 38th, and most recently, 34th last fall. He’s on record as saying he’s not a fan of the track’s new variable banking, either.
Additionally, he also had a dust-up with Brad Keselowski in last fall’s Nationwide race at Kansas; Brad K will be under the microscope this weekend as well after his involvement in the big Talladega crash last weekend.
Busch’s best run at the track came way back in 2006, when he led 64 laps and finished seventh; that’s one of only two top-10 finishes he’s posted there.
A good run this weekend won’t erase the past demons, but it would put the spotlight on something other than his on-track disasters and off-track incident that will otherwise be talking points.
The bright side for Busch going into the weekend is that he already has a win this season (Auto Club Speedway), so yet another poor run in Kansas won’t be detrimental to his Chase chances. A poor run in Kansas this fall, however, would.