Mooresville’s Kyle Busch must feel buoyed by his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series record at the ISM Raceway in Phoenix, where he is the only driver to win in the two races since the facility completed a major renovation and re-configuration last year.
Adding another victory in Sunday’s scheduled running of Bluegreen Vacations 500 would be a huge boost to the MENCS regular season champion by securing his position in the Championship 4 to compete for a season title and giving him all kinds of momentum to do so.
Busch has three career victories at Phoenix and is the only one of the current eight championship-eligible drivers with multiple wins at all three of the tracks — Martinsville, Va., Texas and Phoenix — that comprised this championship set-up Playoff round.
And with both wins on the new-look facility, there’s plenty of reason for Busch to feel optimistic about his chances Sunday. He has hoisted four trophies this season but doing so Sunday would be the first time since a June 2 victory at Pocono.
The 2015 series champion Busch is ranked third in the standings with a two-point advantage on defending series champion and Mooresville-based Team Penske driver Joey Logano. Mathematically, he can only get into the Championship 4 with a win at ISM Raceway.
Should a non-Playoff driver win Sunday then both the third and fourth place positions in the points standings would earn a position in the Championship 4.
“We all know one guy is going to move through on points and we have to do whatever we have to do in order to be that guy,’’ said Busch, who drives the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
“If we can obviously go to Phoenix and have a strong run and be able to go out there and win that will put us through, as well. We’re two points up on the 22 (Logano), so it’s going to be a race between the 18 and 22. Imagine that. We’ll look forward to the challenge and hope we have a strong run in order to make it through to Homestead.’’