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Busch Eying Speedweeks Trifecta

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, February 22 2014

Kyle Busch has taken his first step toward making more history. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Alan Marler)

Clearly, Friday night’s Truck Series victory meant a bunch to Kyle Busch. Because of what he did – add a truck victory at Daytona International Speedway to the list. And, because of how he did it – slipping past Timothy Peters just a couple feet away from the finish line.

But something else became clear after the race: The truck win is also a means to an end. And end that would make big history.

Kyle Busch enjoys piling up NASCAR landmarks and he’s not at all shy about talking about it.

When Busch got to the media center after his truck win late Friday night, he quickly let it be known that that victory was also a first step toward another Kyle Busch landmark. He wants to become the first driver to sweep Speedweeks’ three big events; trucks, Nationwide and Sprint Cup.

“We started the trifecta already,” Busch said.  ”And you’ve got to win the first one to be able to win all of them.”

In the past, Busch found himself in the middle of some mid-level controversies in the NASCAR landmark department.

It was a few years back. Busch started talking about winning 200 races in NASCAR across the series’ three top classes.

Somewhere during the talk, the name of Richard Petty came up and heated debate followed. Not because people felt he couldn’t win 200 races by the time he retires (he has 127 already) but because people felt winning 200 overall would in no way stack up to Petty’s record of 200 victory in Cup.

Whatever. The fact is Busch has been terrific about about toppling NASCAR landmarks.

For example: He owns the record for most race wins in a season across the top three NASCAR series with 24, which he accomplished in 2010; he was the first driver to win in all three of NASCAR’s top three touring series in the same weekend (at Bristol in 2010); he holds the record for the most NASCAR Nationwide Series wins in a season with 13 in 2010, and the most overall with 63.

The Speedweeks Trifecta? Why not?

Next up is Saturday’s Nationwide Series race. Busch has a fast Camry in practice. He was third fastest in the one practice he chose to participate in in his No. 54 KBM car. He is also that series’ winningest driver.

“I believe we have a fast Monster Camry,” he said.

In practice for the 500, Busch has turned just mediocre laps. His best practice was the last one Friday where he was 11th.

Still, this is the 500 and practices can be deceptive. And still, Busch said he thinks his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is a good one.

“Looking forward to Sunday with M&M Peanut,” Busch said. “Know we have a fast car. We screwed some things up in the Duel race, but everything is all right now.”

Pulling off the Speedweeks trifecta would be bigger and more difficult than anything going on in Sochi. Certainly bigger and more important than what is going on between Danica Patrick and Petty.

Nobody has done it for reasons. Reasons that some think are insurmountable.

Three straight races which everybody else in the field/world views as the biggest race of the season. Three straight races in which having the fastest car or truck is only as important as the actions of the people around you.

And, of course, to get the trifecta, a driver must win the 500 – a career landmark in itself. This year’s edition, some are saying, could  set peg the needle on the bizarre-o-meter.

Sounds like a job for Kyle Busch. And he just might be up to it.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, February 22 2014
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