Kyle Busch has a chance to win five straight spring races at Richmond International Raceway tonight, but while he’s clearly has found the rhythm at RIR, he also credits fellow Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin as a key reason for he and his team’s success there. Hamlin is out of action tonight as he continues to heal up after sustaining a fractured vertebrae in a crash earlier this season at Auto Club Speedway.
“I think a lot of it comes from Denny, being that it’s his home track,” said Busch. “I’ve been good there in Hendrick and JGR cars. But Denny and I really feed off each other an awful lot in Richmond. We use each other a ton there just to be sure we can beat the rest of the competition, of course.
“We do like similar setups there, unlike other mile-and-a-half tracks or two-mile tracks where we don’t run very similar setups. Richmond is one of those places where we both know what it takes to get around and we’re both similar to one another in that we both run well.”
Gibbs drivers have won six of the last 10 races overall at RIR (Busch with the aforementioned four wins, and Hamlin with two from the fall Richmond races in 2009 and 2010). But it would appear that the field has to go through Busch in particular this evening in the Toyota Owners 400. The Rowdy One boasts an average finish of 5.4 in 16 career Cup starts there; that’s the best amongst all active drivers. Also, in those 16 starts at RIR, he’s earned 12 Top-5 finishes.