Kyle Busch drives the No. 18 Toyota during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway.
By Lee Montgomery
Special to Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
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 NASCAR 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.
"We hopefully (have) at least a shot at it again this weekend," Busch said in an understatement. "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 racecars and good people. They work so hard and bring such good cars to the racetrack.
"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 last 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. ...
"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."
What: O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
Where: Texas Motor Speedway; Fort Worth, Texas
When: Saturday, 12:55 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN2, Noon ET
Radio: PRN-Sirius/XM Satellite Ch. 90
Track layout: 1.5-mile oval
Race distance: 200 laps/300 miles
Qualifying: Friday, 6:35 p.m. ET
2010 winner: Carl Edwards
2010 polesitter: James Buescher
Points standings: 1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 1,100; 2. Elliott Sadler, 1,085; 3. Aric Almirola, 1,013; 4. Justin Allgaier, 1,009; 5. Reed Sorenson, 1,006; 6. Jason Leffler, 949; 7. Kenny Wallace, 894; 8. Brian Scott, 877; 9. Steve Wallace, 870; 10. Michael Annett, 859.