Winning Sunday at Watkins Glen was huge on a number of fronts for Kyle Busch and the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Obviously, winning on a road course will have nothing to do with the next four races leading up to the Chase, nor will it play any type of role in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
With that said, however, this is exactly what this team and especially this driver needed. They hadn’t won since Texas. They’ve had great runs going, but were unable to finish the deal. His engine woes from last year and into this year have been well documented. Throw in the fact that he had an absolutely disastrous run on the other road course earlier this year at Sonoma, you can easily understand how sweet Sunday’s win was for this bunch.
Remember this, last year Kyle Busch didn’t even make the Chase. Now with three wins, he’s all but guaranteed a spot fighting for this year’s championship even if he doesn’t stay in the Top 10 in points over the next four weeks.
Anytime you can win a race right now and you know you are going to be in this year’s Chase competing for the championship, it not only helps your confidence across the board, but in five weeks you’ll also reap the benefits of those bonus points for each win.
Actually the same can be said for Brad Keselowski who finished a strong second on Sunday. Sure he didn’t win, but you can see that No. 2 car starting to get some consistent runs going and that raises their confidence as well heading into these last 14 races of 2013.
Getting back to Kyle’s win, he absolutely has to be considered a major threat to win the championship. Right now he’s in the same class as Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth. Honestly to me, the two most dangerous drivers I see right now in this year’s Chase are Kyle and Kasey Kahne. Both are just absolutely bad fast no matter what race track we go to each week.