NASCAR: Kyle Busch thought he would run out of fuel and lose

Even Kyle Busch thought there was a chance that he wouldn’t make it to the end of Wednesday’s NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway via a “2020” ending.

The word “2020” has been Kyle Busch’s go-to word when it comes to describing many aspects of his disappointing NASCAR Cup Series season.

Busch failed to win any of the season’s first 33 races, marking his longest career win drought to start a season in 16 years of competing at the sport’s top level.

The two-time champion also failed to advance out of the round of 12 of the playoffs, marking the earliest ever elimination for a reigning champion while also marking the first time he has failed to qualify for the Championship 4 since 2014.

So when the 35-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada native found himself leading at Texas Motor Speedway late in the race over teammate Martin Truex Jr. but needing to save fuel, “2020” was in the back of his mind, especially with Truex, one of the eight drivers still challenging for the championship, charging hard behind him in his #19 Toyota.

When a media member told Busch after the race that he thought that the #18 Toyota going to run out of fuel since “it’s still 2020”, Busch noted that he thought the same thing.

“So did I,” he said.

But Busch held on by 0.468 seconds over Truex, who failed to lock up what would have been his fourth consecutive and fifth career Championship 4 berth in this race, to secure his 57th career victory and first since winning the 2019 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to clinch his second title.

Busch has now won at least one race in 16 consecutive seasons, which is tied for the third longest streak of all-time behind only the 18-year streak of Richard Petty from 1960 to 1977 and the 17-year streak of the late David Pearson from 1964 to 1980.