Kyle Busch: ‘Damn technicalities’ kept him from Daytona 500 win

DAYTONA, FL - FEBRUARY 14: Kyle Busch (#8 Richard Childress Racing Zone Chevrolet) being interviewed during Daytona 500 Media Day on February 14, 2024 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL. (Photo by Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Before his breakthrough victory in the 1998 DAYTONA, the late Dale Earnhardt had won everything else there was to win at Daytona International Speedway.

Finally, in his 20th attempt, Earnhardt broke the jinx that had haunted him throughout his career and won the Great American Race.

Likewise, Kyle Busch has been to Victory Lane at Daytona on numerous occasions—just not in the race he covets most. He has won the Clash twice, triumphed three times in the Duels and claimed one trophy in the summer race at the World Center of Racing.

Busch will make his 19th DAYTONA 500 start on Sunday (2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). It would have been his 20th, but for a 2015 injury—suffered in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race a day before the 500–that sidelined him for the first 11 events of the season.

So, if not precisely comparable, Busch is in a position like the one Earnhardt faced in 1998.

“Trust me, I’m well aware,” Busch said. “Thank you very much. I hope we can talk about some of the same storylines on Sunday. That would be nice.”

Last year’s running of the 500 still sticks in Busch’s craw. He led the race under caution at Lap 200 (500 miles) but was collected in a wreck during overtime. Taking the checkered flag under green has continued to elude him.

“I have not done that yet, although I won the Daytona 500 last year under the yellow flag, not under the checkered flag,” Busch quipped. “Those damn technicalities keep coming up and getting me.”

A Las Vegas native, Busch has sponsorship support from the BetMGM website. Asked whether he was a good bet for Sunday’s race, Busch replied in the affirmative.

“I would,” he said. “Well, from what I’ve heard of a lot of other people around our industry this past week, there’s a lot of people that have good feelings on us this week. Maybe that’s a good omen.”