NASCAR champion and current points leader Kyle Busch likes a challenge. And in a few weeks, he’ll get a unique one.
On Sept. 2, Busch will try to win his first Darlington race since 2008.
“My favorite part about racing at Darlington is the toughness,” Busch said during a Tuesday trip to Myrtle Beach to promote the race. “It’s a track that’s too tough to tame.”
Busch, 33, leads the Monster Energy Cup Series this season with six wins and 16 top-five finishes. But there is one goal that’s eluded him for the past 10 years: a win at Darlington.
“Darlington’s just a tough place, man,” said Busch, who sped past fans in a go-cart at Broadway Grand Prix on Tuesday. His area visit also included an appearance at the grand opening of Palmetto Academy of Learning Motorsports’ new building in Conway.
“It’s a track you really can’t attack. You’ve got to race the racetrack here. A lot of guys will be faster than you for a while in the race and they might fade later on in the night.”
Busch, the 2015 NASCAR cup champion, finished third at Watkins Glenn on Sunday despite a fuel issue that pushed him to the back of the pack at one point in the race.
Busch finished second in the 2017 Monster Energy Cup points standings to Martin Truex Jr..
“It’s just a matter of being able to execute and get everything right in a given day and we just weren’t able to do that last year,” Busch said. “This year it’s just kind of come together more. This weekend would have been another great opportunity for that but we had a fueling issue that took us out of the chance and we weren’t able to capitalize.”
“You can’t get it every time you get there [at Darlington],” Busch said. “You’ve got to make sure you do your best, you execute all day long, try to keep it out of the fence as long as you can and be there at the end.”
Keeping it off the fence can be an issue. The track is famous for the “Darlington stripe,” which is the name given to the unmistakable mark left on a car after a run-in with the wall on the narrow-grooved track.
“It’s only one-lane wide,” Busch said. “At times you’ve got to be two-grooves wide with people, or even three grooves wide with people. The asphalt being wore out lends itself to some crazy action as the race goes on, and wore out tires, and slippin’ and slidin’ and you’re just counting on grip and there’s really not a whole lot out there for you. There’s very, very little room for any kind of error.”
As for the rest of the season, Busch said his team just need to keep dominating in order to win the championship after the playoff races are complete.
“You want to win the regular season championship and get those 15 extra bonus points,” Busch said. “That’ll mean so much when you get into the playoffs through each and every round.”
Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian