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Nationwide Preview: Busch aims to start another win streak at Texas

November 04, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service, NASCAR.com



Nationwide Preview:  Busch aims to start another win streak at Texas
Driver eyes return to Victory Lane after Edwards stopped streak at five in '10

For most drivers, a two-race losing streak at any particular track is simply the cost of doing business.

But Kyle Busch is clearly not most drivers -- especially not at Texas Motor Speedway in the Nationwide Series.

Busch won five in a row at the 1.5-mile track, but that streak was stopped by Carl Edwards last year. Busch lost again there in April, so he heads to Texas for this weekend's O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge on a rare two-race losing skid.

"It seemed like we couldn't do anything wrong at Texas in the Nationwide Series for a long time. Being able to win five in a row there was really quite an accomplishment."

--KYLE BUSCH

"We hopefully [have] at least a shot at it again this weekend," Busch said. "I've been out of the Nationwide car a lot the last couple of weeks, so I'm looking forward to racing a lot this weekend and hope we can get our Camry to Victory Lane again at Texas."

Busch's winning streak at Texas matched the series record held by Jack Ingram at South Boston and Dale Earnhardt at Daytona for the longest at any track. It started in 2008, his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing, and continued through the first race there in 2010. He led an amazing 810 of a possible 1,000 laps during the streak, which ended last November despite leading a race-high 107 laps. He finished second to Edwards in that race and then crashed while fighting for the top spot just before the halfway point in April.

"It's been a team effort," Busch said of his Texas success. "[Crew chief] Jason [Ratcliff] and all those guys at Joe Gibbs Racing -- the chassis guys, the body guys, the guys in the engine shop and everybody who makes this possible. It's just good race cars and good people. They work so hard and bring such good cars to the race track.

"It seemed like we couldn't do anything wrong at Texas in the Nationwide Series for a long time. Being able to win five in a row there was really quite an accomplishment. Hopefully, we can start another winning streak there this weekend."

A win would bolster the No. 18 team's chances in the Nationwide owners' championship race. The JGR team leads the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing team -- with Edwards as the main driver -- by three points with three races remaining. JGR has won the past three Nationwide owner titles.

Busch has won eight times in 20 races in the 18 this season, but Ratcliff has had four other drivers in the car in 2011: Michael McDowell, Kelly Bires, Drew Herring and Joey Logano.

"I'm excited that we're even in position to do it with Kyle running such a limited schedule and we've had some young guys in the car this year," Ratcliff said. "We've had five different drivers in the car, so just to be in contention and be where we are, I'm really excited about that.

Texas Track Facts

Nationwide Series
• Saturday's race is the 22nd Series event held at Texas Motor Speedway.
• Carl Edwards (2) and Kyle Busch (5) combined won the past seven Texas races; Edwards won the last two and Busch won the five prior.
• Ten of the past 12 Texas races were won from a top-10 starting position including eight from the first two rows.
• The driver leading the most laps went on to win in 10 of the 21 races at Texas including six of the past seven.
• Kyle Busch led the most laps in seven of the past nine races at Texas; he led over 100 laps in all seven races.
• Only two of the 21 races at Texas were won by a NAtionwide only drivers: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (4/98) and Jeff Purvis (4/02).
• Two of the 21 Texas races ended with a G-W-C finish: April 2006 and Nov. 2010.
• Only one Texas event ended with a last-lap pass; Dale Earnhardt Jr. passed Joe Nemechek on the last lap in April 1998.
• The final green-flag stretch was 27 laps or less in 17 of the 21 Texas races and was less than 15 laps in 16 of the 21.
• The last green stretch of the Texas race in April was 72 laps, the second longest final green stretch of the 2011 season behind Chicagoland in September at 131 laps.
• The three cautions in the Texas race in April set a new track record for the fewest cautions in a Nationwide Texas event.
• Carl Edwards is the only repeat pole winner in the past 12 Texas races with time trials; qualifying was canceled for the only time at Texas in April 2008.
• Roush Fenway Racing won the pole for five of the past 10 Texas races with time trials.
• JGR and RFR combined led 87% of the laps raced at Texas in the past eight races there.
• Kyle Busch finished either first or second in eight of his 13 Texas starts.
• The past eight Texas events had at least one green-flag stretch of 61 laps or more.
• Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr are tied for points earned on 1.5 mile tracks in 2011.

"Kyle at Texas is always a winning combination and then Joey at Phoenix, I think we have a really good shot at it. After two weeks off, I think the guys are geared up and ready to close the deal."