Kyle Busch has won a lot of races. One hundred to be exact, across NASCAR’s top three series.
[media-credit name=”Brian Douglas” align=”alignright” width=”246″][/media-credit]Looking through that long list of wins though, there are accomplishments that are notably absent when it comes to the Sprint Cup Series. Of Busch’s 22 career NSCS wins, he has yet to win at any of the marquee events or win a championship. Friday at Indianapolis, the site of one of NASCAR’s biggest races, Busch said a driver doesn’t necessarily need wins at Indy or Daytona but it makes them look good.
“I don’t know that you need them, but certainly it helps the prestige of your career a little bit more,” said Busch about the big races.
“I feel like Daytona is number one, Indy is number two, Charlotte I would go with number three. I haven’t won at any of the big three yet. I’m certainly looking forward to the day that I can.”
Busch has come close in each of those races and says that he would like to win one of them sooner rather than later. For all the Richmond and Bristol races that he’s won, Busch has sat on the sidelines as others have celebrated what some consider the most important victories.
“It’s something that I’ve really looked towards trying to win those races since I was a young guy and even before I started here,” said Busch on Friday. “You watch guys like Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace and those guys work so hard to win these races. It only comes around once a year so it takes you 365 more days before you get your next opportunity.”
Sunday will be Busch’s seventh attempt to win the Brickyard 400 where his best finish is fourth in 2007. Last year he finished eighth after spinning early and on Sunday he’ll start from the 29th position.
When it comes to Daytona and Charlotte, where he’s 0-6 and 0-8 respectively, Busch has been much closer to victory lane. On a few different occasions he’s had the car to beat in the Daytona 500 but fell victim to big wrecks or bad drafting. At Charlotte the problem hasn’t been the car but pit stops and rain.
At this point being close is better than being way off the mark. Considering that it took Dale Earnhardt 20 years to win the Daytona 500, Busch doesn’t have to get caught in the numbers or what races he has yet to win. His time will come.
Yet because he is said to have the talent of a Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson and hasn’t been able to match them, it’s been an interesting story. Gordon and Johnson have won all three of NASCAR’s premiere races as well as a championship. Busch’s former teammate, Tony Stewart, has won at the Brickyard and won a championship but hasn’t won the Daytona 500 or at Charlotte.
Busch though doesn’t believe that a Daytona win or championship defines a career. For instance his older brother Kurt has won both a championship and at Charlotte but hasn’t won the Daytona 500 at or Indy. He though, is a champion whereas Kyle only has a Nationwide Series title to his name.
That’s not too shabby but when his name is mentioned so are all the accolades and praise. It’s Kyle Busch that’s constantly being compared to the greats in the sport and the talks are all about how many races he could win.
When Busch’s career is complete he’ll have won plenty of races, but it has yet to be seen if he’ll be a champion of the big ones. Winning those races just sets a driver apart from the rest, it adds to the resumes and their value. Some would say it even puts them among the greats, where Busch hopes to be.
“Certainly there’s drivers that have won the Daytona 500 that characterize themselves as a Daytona 500 champion,” said Busch.
“Guys that have won a Brickyard 400 title clarify themselves the same way. Or a NASCAR championship and in this case, a Sprint Cup champion, they call themselves a champion. I’ve got a Nationwide Series championship and obviously, that’s about all I’ve got to my credit right now. One day I would like to have all of those.”