Kyle Busch looking for a return to form at Phoenix

Can Phoenix Raceway be the track that helps bring Kyle Busch back into championship form?

Kyle Busch looking for a return to form at Phoenix

While Busch doesn’t have an abundance of wins at Phoenix (three in the Cup Series), he has been remarkably strong at the 1-mile track of late, finishing first or second in the last four races.

After a rough start to the season, the reigning Cup series champion finds himself mired 19th in the series standings and still looking for his first win. Uncharacteristically, he’s led just 14 laps so far this season.

A runner-up finish last weekend at California helped turned the tide, but his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota still lacked race-winning speed – an issue he knows his team is working to correct.

Read Also:

“I appreciate all the hard work. We just have to get a little bit better,” Busch, 34, said. “We finished the end of last year so strong, I don’t know what we’re missing here.

“Obviously, it’s a little bit of something here and maybe a little bit of something in a few different areas.”

This is unfamiliar territory for Busch. Outside of 2015 when he missed nearly a third of the season due to injury, this is the lowest Busch has been in the series standings after three races since his 2005 rookie season.

Showing speed

The signs so far at Phoenix are good.

Busch was second-fastest in Friday’s final practice and qualified 10th for Sunday’s Fan Shield 500. He’s been hit-or-miss in qualifying thus far this year, winning the pole at Las Vegas but starting 17th or worse in the other two races.

Sunday’s race is the first of nine this year in which NASCAR reverted back to a low downforce rules package, which also prompted Goodyear to change its tire selection for the weekend.

Many teams have had difficulty adjusting to the new combination but have extra incentive to do so – Phoenix will also host the series’ championship race this year in November.

“There’s nothing I’m going to do to enhance the racing besides drive my car and give it the best I can do and have a good run with it. Hopefully, we’ll be able to win,” Busch said. “We’ll do the best thing for us, setting ourselves up for when we come back here in the fall and hopefully have a chance to race for a championship.

“You have to get here first. This race means everything for everyone in the garage because this time everyone right now has a shot. In our reality, there’s only going to be four guys that come back here that have a shot. Hopefully, we’re one of those four.”

Asked how the tire falloff had affected his team so far this weekend, Busch said: “If you have 10, 12 laps on your tires and somebody comes in and pits, I think depending on how that guy restarts, he’s going to be able to pass guys.

“I had five lap fresher tires than a couple of guys (Friday) in practice and I was able to catch them and pass them. Positive so far.

Read Also:

shares
comments
Chase Elliott tops Kevin Harvick for Cup pole at Phoenix
Previous article

Chase Elliott tops Kevin Harvick for Cup pole at Phoenix

Next article

Points leader Ryan Blaney out after early crash at Phoenix

Points leader Ryan Blaney out after early crash at Phoenix
Load comments
The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team Prime

The ex-F1 driver taking on NASCAR with a new team

Saddled with uncompetitive Minardi machinery, Tarso Marques didn't manage to score points in his three partial seasons of Formula 1. But now the Brazilian has the chance to show what he can do in NASCAR, and explains the story of his comeback with new Cup Series entrant Team Stange

NASCAR Cup
Apr 13, 2022
The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car Prime

The early benefits and challenges of NASCAR's Next Gen car

NASCAR’s new stock car generation is encouraging an influx of fresh blood into its top tier. But there are concerns that parts are in short supply as the entire paddock tries to build up stocks at the same time

NASCAR Cup
Feb 22, 2022
How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style Prime

How Penske's rookie sensation opened NASCAR's new era in style

After holding his nerve and hip-checking his teammate on the run to the line, Austin Cindric made a perfect start to life as a full-timer in the NASCAR Cup Series by winning the Daytona 500. Here's how the Penske Ford man emerged first across the line in the first points-scoring race for the much-anticipated Next Generation cars

NASCAR Cup
Feb 21, 2022
Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season Prime

Six key themes to follow in the 2022 NASCAR Cup season

There are plenty of uncertainties ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup season as an all-new fleet of cars take to the track for the first time. Ahead of this weekend's Daytona 500, our experts explain what you need to know

NASCAR Cup
Feb 17, 2022
How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival Prime

How NASCAR had to learn a harsh lesson ahead of Next Gen arrival

The NASCAR Cup kicks off with the Daytona 500 this weekend, but a major engine overhaul and a subsequent mountain of work has been required to be ready for the arrival of the Next Gen cars.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2022
How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory Prime

How Larson took the long way round to NASCAR Cup glory

From villain to hero, Kyle Larson had to reach his lifelong goal the hard way and go through a very public shaming after a ban for using a racial slur, but his talents shone long before his name grabbed the headlines...

NASCAR Cup
Nov 10, 2021
How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022 Prime

How NASCAR is gearing up for its "biggest change" in 2022

It’s not just Formula 1 that’s set for upheaval in 2022, as the NASCAR Cup series adopts its Next Gen cars that will cast any in-built advantages aside and require teams to adopt a totally new way of operating. Far more than just a change of machinery, the new cars amount to a shift in NASCAR's core philosophy

NASCAR Cup
Oct 12, 2021
Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR Prime

Why Bubba Wallace’s Talladega win is such a big moment for NASCAR

Bubba Wallace claimed his maiden NASCAR Cup Series at Talladega on Monday to become the first Black victor in the category since Wendell Scott in 1963. Both Wallace and Scott had faced obstacles and racism in their paths to their breakthrough wins, and NASCAR is trying to put it right with its range of diversity programmes

NASCAR Cup
Oct 5, 2021