Busch Looks for Bristol Bash
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on April 20, 2017 | 10:00 A.M. EST
"I certainly look forward to Bristol and I definitely have over the years, whether it was the old surface or when they repaved it." (Photo: Getty Images)
Should the Joe Gibbs Racing driver break through in the year’s eighth race of the campaign, it would be his sixth career series win at the .533-mile Tennessee short track.
The opportunity to add to his stellar Bristol record has Busch chomping at the bit to get to “Thunder Valley.”
“I certainly look forward to Bristol and I definitely have over the years, whether it was the old surface or when they repaved it,” he said. “It’s been kind of frustrating a little bit for me on the Cup side since the (track surface) grind and I haven’t figured that out all the way, yet. We’ve had fast racecars the last several times there, but different things have happened that have kept us from being able to finish those races off and win another one.
“I definitely look forward to this weekend. We’re hoping things will fall in place this weekend with our M&M’S Camry and we get to victory lane there again. That’s always the goal each weekend.”
It has been a while since Busch last won a Cup race at Bristol. You have to go back to the 2011 season to find his last triumph. But even though he’s been shut out since, Busch still looks forward to the chance to race at Bristol even with the track’s many challenges.
“I think the most challenging aspect of Bristol is just how difficult it is to transition through from the straightaways to the corners, back to the straightaways, and have your car set up in order to do all that,” he said. “Sometimes you can be really loose getting in, or you can be really tight in the middle – you just seem to never be able to get a good-flowing car that works well there. Drivers have to do a lot of manipulation on the racetrack with their car in order to try to make the best of it.”
In addition to his Cup career stats which feature five wins, eight top-fives and 13 top-10s in 23 starts, Busch has also won at Bristol in the XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series. In fact his 2010 weekend stands out as one of the most memorable in Busch’s entire NASCAR career.
“The one that stands out the most for me is August 2010 – being able to do the sweep,” Busch recalled of the weekend he took home trophies in all three of NASCAR’s top tiers. “We won the Truck race on Wednesday night, backed it up in the XFINITY Series race Friday and took home the trophy from the Cup race on Saturday night.”
One reason Busch seems to excel at Bristol is a simple one – he enjoys racing there.
“It’s a fun place that you like going to,” Busch said. “You enjoy the race around there. We grew up at the ‘Bullring’ (in Las Vegas) and stuff like that. They aren’t as banked as Bristol is, but I love going and racing at Winchester (Indiana) and at Slinger (Wisconsin), Salem (Indiana) – those are all really high-banked racetracks that are a half-mile in distance, or a quarter. They’re really fun to race around and you kind of get a great feel for racing in a bowl.
“You go down the straightaway and you slam it into the corners and you mash the gas and you kind of sling right back out of the corners. It’s a lot of fun to do that. It’s kind of an art. Some guys are really good at it, and some find a knack that makes them really good at it and makes it seem easy.”