First Cup win at Charlotte would be big for Kyle Busch

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Kyle Busch has had plenty of success at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as his 13 career wins there across the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series can attest.

But if he wants a chance to win the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup, he may need to pull off his first Cup win at CMS tonight in the Bank of America 500.

Busch came on late and won last night’s NNS race on the 1.5-mile oval, but he still faces the task tonight of erasing his hellish afternoon last Sunday at Kansas Speedway.

His DNF in the Heartland knocked him to fifth in the standings at 35 points behind Matt Kenseth. But after scoring his 11th NNS win of the season, Busch naturally said Kansas was out of sight and out of mind for him.

“Seems like I can figure it out [at Charlotte] in Truck and Nationwide, but seem to have a little bit of a struggle on the Cup side,” Busch said. “We’ll see if we can’t change that around [tonight]. I’d certainly like to be able to put that M&M’s Camry in victory lane and score my first Cup Series win here, as well as [crew chief] Dave Rogers’ first Cup Series win here and the first one for JGR [Joe Gibbs Racing] in awhile.”

“It would be a big win for us and put us back in the points race on the Cup side as well too and prove to people that we’re not giving up after last week. Last week is last week — it’s over, it’s done with and we’re moving forward. We’re a threat to be reckoned with still for this championship on the Cup side.”

As Busch alluded to, his Joe Gibbs Racing team has not been able to win at CMS since Tony Stewart won the fall race back in 2003. Busch has come close in recent years to snapping that victory drought, recording a pair of runner-up finishes in the 2010 and 2011 fall events, as well as third and fifth-place finishes in both of the 2012 events.

In this past May’s Coca-Cola 600, he finished 38th after his engine let go on Lap 257 of 400.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”