Although Kyle Busch won a total of 16 NASCAR races in 2013, only four came in the Sprint Cup series. After narrowly missing the top 12 Chase field in 2012, he finished the season 4th in the standings in the 2013 season.
Busch visited victory lane at Auto Club Speedway in March, Texas in April and Atlanta over Labor Day weekend. He also won on the road course at Watkins-Glen, after running into trouble at the white flag a year ago. The No.18 M&M’s Toyota driver started out slow with an engine failure at the Daytona 500 and only a 23rd place finish at Phoenix (March). There must have been something bad in the water because Busch’s teammate and fellow Toyota driver Matt Kenseth also suffered an engine problem in the first race of the year. Both drivers rebounded at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Kenseth winning and Busch finishing 4th in the Kobalt Tools 400.
After a 2nd place finish in Chicago, Busch would be in contention alongside Kenseth and Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson for the Sprint Cup Series championship. However, he hit a snag at Kansas Speedway, where he crashed at the April race. Unfortunately, the same result came in the October Chase race.
Some of Busch’s best finishes came on the 1.5 mile and the short tracks. Other notable results included 2nd at Bristol (March) and Loudon (July), and 4th at Las Vegas, Michigan (June) and Dover (June).
At the Coca Cola 600 in May, Busch’s car was one of the ones damaged when a rope from a FOX Sports overhead cable cam fell. He later encountered an engine failure and was not able to complete the race. He posted three other DNF’s including another engine failure (Daytona, Feb) and two crashes (both Kansas races).
Busch’s total stats on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series consist of four wins, 16 top 5’s and 22 top 10’s. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver completed 10, 070 of 10,553 laps and led 1227 of them. He also scored 3 pole positions. If the No.18 JGR team can put mistakes behind them and Busch continues his momentum from 2013 into the new season, expect them to give the other top teams a run for their money in the 2014 season.