With the title race looming, Kyle Busch acknowledges he has already had a successful year.
“But I don’t think it would be truly successful without being able to bring home that championship,” the Joe Gibbs Racing driver said. “Obviously, that’s what we strive for and live for and build our seasons around each and every year, is to be able to get to the final four.”
Busch, the 2015 champion, is making his fourth Championship appearance in five seasons. A nice honor, but with only one title win to show for it, Busch said the No. 18 team still has room to improve.
At eight victories, Busch tied for the season high with fellow title contender Kevin Harvick. Eight wins also ties Busch’s single-season record, which he first achieved in his debut year with JGR . Busch has also led 1,448 laps to this point, and his average finish is 8.4 – which, should it not slip too much after Sunday night, would be a career high.
Those numbers in mind, Busch said he doesn’t know if it would be any more disappointing if he weren’t to win the championship.
“I guess it depends on who you lose it to,” Busch said. “Obviously, Harvick’s done a phenomenal job. Those guys and that group have been so good all season long, even in the late stages of last year. You lose it to him, and it’s like, yeah, okay, I can see why they got it.
“In all honesty, I feel like we’ve been right there, toe to toe with them. He wins a week, I can win a week, he wins a week, I can win a week, [Martin] Truex wins a week, I win a week, he wins a week. That’s kind of the way this season’s gone.”
And what if Joey Logano were to win the title? Logano has been a top-five driver most of the season, but like most of the competition, still lags behind the Big 3.
“He’s been there, he’s been consistent, he’s been good,” Busch conceded. “He hasn’t necessarily performed to the level of the Big 3, and that’s no shake on them at all. It’s just the fact of the matter. So if he wins the title over the rest of us, then that would certainly be a little bit more disappointing.”
Naturally, Busch isn’t planning on losing. Not like he did a year ago to Truex when Busch he had a faster car at Homestead. However, late in the finale, Busch trailed and trailed Truex and was ultimately unable to do anything with him for the race win and subsequent championship.
Busch said that while he has replayed last year’s race repeatedly in his mind, he hasn’t watched the film. At least not yet.
“I’m starting that now,” Busch said. “That will be tonight’s project and tomorrow’s project, obviously. It will be interesting to see what I can learn and figure out. You try to learn from your mistakes and not allow the same thing to happen over again.”