Kurt Busch eager for another shot at Vegas

Having grown up in and around Las Vegas, Kurt Busch is very well acquainted with the NASCAR track there. Inside and out. Except for one spot--victory lane.

Having grown up in and around Las Vegas, Kurt Busch is very well acquainted with the NASCAR track there. Inside and out. Except for one spot--victory lane.

This weekend, Busch will take an 11th swing at winning at his hometown venue, 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and the way things are going for him and his Penske Racing team, it just might happen.

"We're coming back to Vegas hoping for the kind of change we've experienced at some of the other tracks recently," Busch said this week. "We're really hoping for the type of turnaround that we've enjoyed at tracks like Charlotte and Daytona. We've been able to taste success finally on those tracks, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway is definitely No. 1 on my hit list now."

To win the Kobalt Tools 400 and scratch Vegas off his list, Busch will have to break free of the woes that have made trips home so painful.

Busch has only two top-10 finishes at Vegas. His best finish is third and that came six years ago--before the track was reconfigured with graduated banking.


In his past four appearances at the track, his best finish is 23rd. His grand total of laps led during those four races is one.

Busch's average finish in all starts at LVMS is 22nd--his worst at all tracks.

"We have shown a lot of potential through the years in the Vegas races," he said, "but we've yet to be able to put together many strong showings from beginning to end."

And it was at Vegas where he had perhaps his most frustrating day of 2010.

"Last year's race is pretty representative of how our history has been on the Vegas track," Busch said. "We had a really fast Dodge Charger there last year and wound up winning the pole. We started out really on the loose side but had worked to get the car back under us and we were moving back toward the front. On a restart at about the 100-lap mark (Lap 94) Jamie McMurray and (Juan Pablo) Montoya crashed in front of us, and I was just a sitting duck and got collected. It was just so typical of how our luck has played out in the Vegas races."

But this is a new year for Busch, the 2004 Sprint Cup champion.

In a car with a new paint scheme, number (22) and sponsor, Busch is off to a slick start.

He won the Budweiser Shootout and his Gatorade Dual 150-mile qualifying race during Speedweeks at Daytona last month. He was in position to win his first Daytona 500--he led 19 laps--but slumped to fifth at the finish line.


Busch looked good again in the second race of the season as he qualified second fastest and led 31 laps before finishing eighth. He is second in the points standings behind brother Kyle.

The impressive start comes on the heels of another solid 2010 season in which he earned a Chase berth for the second consecutive season.

So, confidence is high as Busch readies himself for another homecoming.

"I just get a strong feeling that our luck on our home track is going to change for the good this time around," he said. "I only have to look at how things have changed so drastically at tracks like Charlotte and Daytona. I know we can see that trend continue this weekend at Vegas."

Fast facts

What: Kobalt Tools 400

Where: At Las Vegas Motor Speedway

When: Sunday, 2:15 p.m.


TV: Fox, 1:30 p.m.

Radio: PRN/Sirius Satellite Ch. 128

Track layout: 1.5-mile oval

Race distance: 267 laps/400.5 miles

Qualifying: Friday, 5:40 p.m.

2010 winner: Jimmie Johnson

2010 polesitter: Kurt Busch

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