LAS VEGAS – Never mind that Kurt Busch has three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victories at New Hampshire – and none at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Busch, a Las Vegas native, was delighted with the Wednesday announcement that Las Vegas would get a second date in NASCAR’s top series –along with accompanying XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series races.
The second Las Vegas event, to be held on a yet-to-be-determined date in September starting in 2018, replaces the fall race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in NASCAR’s 10-race playoff. Busch’s enthusiasm for the additional Las Vegas date was tempered only slightly by the absence of New Hampshire in the playoff.
After all, the most recent of Busch’s victories at the Magic Mile came in 2008.
“That’s big, to have Trucks on Friday, XFINITY on Saturday, Monster Energy Cup Series on Sunday,” Busch said in advance of Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX). “That’s big. And then it’s a playoff atmosphere in September. It will be a little warm, but we’ll see how that plays out, but the way this city continues to grow around sports… there’s an NHL team that’s now here, the Raiders continue to flirt with coming down here. With the way that this town evolves, you see it as a win-win with the entertainment side and the sporting side.
“To lose a date at New Hampshire, I think that will really push the New Englanders out hard for their July race, and there will be much more support around their race then. I haven’t won there in many years, so I’m OK with winning three times early in my career. I haven’t won there as of late, so it doesn’t matter.”
The way Busch sees it, the addition of a fall race at Las Vegas also will amplify the importance of the spring event.
“Wherever the date is, you have to be ready for it, and now when you have a springtime race at a track such as Phoenix, Martinsville, Texas – Vegas now fits in this category. All those races are that much more important in the spring because they are playoff races in the fall (at the same tracks).”