Kyle Busch hopes to finally get a breakthrough fall victory at Richmond

You could make a convincing argument that, with the exception of Kentucky Speedway, Richmond Raceway is Kyle Busch’s best track.

After all, he’s the leading winner at the .75-mile venue among active Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers with five victories, and his average finish in 26 starts at the track is 7.2, second only to Kentucky (5.0 average, with a much smaller sample size of eight races).

There’s only one problem. Busch does his best work at Richmond in the spring. All five of his Richmond wins have come close to his May 2 birthday, including a string of four straight spring races from 2009 through 2012 and, most recently, the Apr. 21 event this year.

Until this season, the fall Richmond race has been the cutoff event for the NASCAR Playoffs. In 2012, Jeff Gordon edged Busch for the final spot in the postseason by finishing second to Busch’s 16th in the Federated Auto Parts 400.

This year, Saturday’s race (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) is perhaps even more important as the second event in Round 1 of the NASCAR Playoffs. Busch is at a loss to explain the discrepancy between his performance in the spring versus the fall.

“I have no clue,” he said on Friday at the new Richmond Raceway media center. “Certainly, the fall time is the more important time to be good here, but we just haven’t quite been able to pinpoint that and put our finger on that. Overall, we certainly have had good results here at Richmond. We’ve been good here in the fall. We’ve had good runs. We just haven’t been able to close the deal.

“Certainly, I would like to be able to do that here this weekend and not have to worry about next week at all (at the Charlotte road course), but with everything we’ve had going on so far this year, we’ve been contenders and we’ve been strong each and every week through this entire season. So we just need to get our strength back and be ready for every week.”

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