BRISTOL, Tenn. — Kyle Busch eyes his second career Bristol summer race-week sweep, but he likely won’t be able to win the NASCAR Cup race the same way he won his other two races this week.
Busch overcame pit-road speeding penalties that sent him to the rear of the field to win the Camping World Truck Series race Wednesday as well as the Xfinity Series race Friday on the 0.533-mile high-banked concrete oval.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver starts 18th Saturday night in the NASCAR Cup event, a grueling 500-lap affair. Busch said he plans to set up his tachometer (the cars don’t have speedometers) so that the lights that warn him that he is speeding are at a conservative setting even if it means driving slower than other cars on pit road.
“We’re already going to back our tach down for tomorrow so we won’t have that speeding penalty,” Busch said. “We’ll just give up on the rest of pit road not to get caught.”
When he completed the Bristol sweep in 2010, Busch started 19th in the Cup race and led 378 of the 500 laps on his way to the win.
“Right on par,” Busch said with a laugh, considering his 18th-place starting spot Saturday.
While he has 19 career wins in national-series races at Bristol (five in Cup, nine in Xfinity and five in truck), Busch has not had much fun in a Cup car in recent years. He has failed to finish four of the past five events, including a year ago when he led 256 laps and ended up in a wreck that followed a parts failure.
Busch feels good about his chances Saturday.
“Our car was really good in race trim,” Busch said. “There’s a great opportunity for [the sweep].
“Every time I have won here or run real well here, I’ve always qualified poorly. We’ve got that going for us already. We’re ready to rock and roll.”
This is the third time Busch has had a chance to sweep Bristol. He completed the sweep in 2010, but failed to repeat that feat in 2013 when he won the two companion events but finished 11th in the Cup race.
“I think we can [do it],” Busch said. “We’ve got a fast car. We just have to make the right adjustments overnight here and get it ready for tomorrow.
“We had a really fast car first round in qualifying and then we lost four-tenths of a second [a lap]. … Our heads are in the books and in the computer trying to find [why] and we just don’t see it so hopefully our race setup is pretty good.”