Two-time Watkins Glen winner Kyle Busch thinks Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at the Glen ought to be a hotly-contested affair and that he should figure prominently into the mix for the victory.
"I think that when you come into this race … you look at the favorites and I think there’s three favorites because they’ve been the top three guys here the last four years, three years, whatever it’s been," Busch said Friday morning at the track. "It’s myself, the 2 (Brad Keselowski) and the 9 (Marcos Ambrose). I think you’re going to see those three cars be fast."
Those three slugged out for the victory here two years ago in one of the best final laps in NASCAR history.
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This time around, Busch said he wouldn’t be surprised to see at least one or two more drivers step up on Sunday.
"I think you can always mix in a fourth and a fifth guy depending on who those are," Busch said. "Some days they’re different than others. This year obviously the 24 (Jeff Gordon) has been real stout — maybe he can carry that on into this week."
Busch is looking to build momentum in what so far has been a wildly inconsistent season for the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing team. In the most recent nine races, Busch has finished second three times, but he’s also had five finishes of 25th or worse, including a 41st at Michigan and 42nd-place runs at Dover and Pocono.
Early on Friday, Busch looked decent in practice, finishing 10th in the opening 90-minute session at the Glen. And Busch said his JGR Toyota has the pace to stay up front, where he expects to again be racing Ambrose and Keselowski for the race victory.
"I don’t think I’m chasing a guy like Marcos at all," said Busch. "I don’t necessarily think that anyone is chasing anyone. I think it’s just going to be us three trying to figure out who is going to win it."
VIDEO: A look back at classic 2012 last-lap battle between Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose at The Glen