Saturday Pocono Notebook
Kyle Busch’s NASCAR track sweep is a done deal-for now
LONG POND, Pa. – Kyle Busch completed an unprecedented, monumental feat last Sunday in winning the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The victory gave the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs racing Toyota a win at every Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series track at which he has competed.
Only one problem. Busch expects the accomplishment to be short-lived. With the addition of the road course at Charlotte this fall for the first elimination race in the Playoff, Busch expects the arbiters of the sport-whoever they may be-to demand that he take the checkered flag on the “new and different” track.
“Everybody wants to make my life more difficult,” quipped Busch, who was fastest in Saturday’s final practice for Sunday’s Pocono 400 (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). “So I’m sure that I won’t be credited for all the race tracks once the Roval gets here, so that would certainly be the next one that comes up.
“It’s in the same vicinity. Richard Petty has won 13 races at Richmond, right, but nobody characterizes the dirt track versus the pavement track being different.”
In fact, Petty won on three different iterations of Richmond Raceway, both on dirt and pavement, but never on the current .75-mile configuration. But a big item on Busch’s bucket list is a race Petty won seven times.
“It’s my life, so we’ll just keep going, keep trying to win in it, and the Roval is next,” Busch said. “And then after that, it’s about the Daytona 500 and trying to get that one.
“It took another guy that’s very, very popular (Dale Earnhardt Sr.) 20 years to get it done, so I’d like to think it won’t take me that long, although I’m creeping up on that number. So we’ll see how soon we can get that one accomplished.”
CHANGE IN TEAM AND EMPHASIS HAS IMPROVED KEVIN HARVICK’S QUALIFYING
In 13 years with Richard Childress racing, Kevin Harvick won six poles.
When he moved to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014, Harvick won eight poles in his first season with the team.
With SHR, Harvick is a threat to win the top starting spot wherever he races. He has five front-row starts this year, including two poles, and has qualified in the top 10 in all but two of 14 races. In those two events, Harvick never made a qualifying run-at Bristol after a wreck in practice forced him to a backup car, and at Charlotte when his No. 4 Ford failed to clear pre-qualifying Inspection.
To Harvick, the dramatic shift in results from time trials is primarily about priorities, both on his…