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Kyle Busch is often the favorite heading into most Cup Series races this season.
The Joe Gibbs driver matched his career high in 2018 with eight wins.
He has been just as fast 19 races into the 2019 season.
Busch is tied with Martin Truex Jr. for the series lead in wins with four.
His six stage wins are second only to points leader and reigning champion Joey Logano.
When it comes to one particular track, Busch looks absolutely dominant.
The 2015 champion has won three of the last five starts at Pocono.
A sweep at the Gander RV 400 2019 would make it four out of five.
What: Gander RV 400
Where: Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA
When: Sunday, July 28th at 3:00 PM EST
How: NBC Sports (TV) | Motor Racing Network (Web radio) | NBC Sports App
Looking at Busch’s recent run at Pocono, it’s hard to imagine that #18 actually struggled for a while there.
Through his first ten starts at the track, Busch only managed one top 5 and two top 10 finishes.
Two of his worst results during the dominant regular season campaign in 2008, 36th and 43rd, came at Pocono.
During that span, Busch led two out of 1,910 laps and finished outside the top 20 four times.
His results did improve, with eight top 10 finishes during the next 15 races at the Tricky Triangle.
During that run, the 2015 champion scored two second place finishes, then his best results at the track.
After 25 tries, the first win finally came in 2017.
That season also marked a significant change in NASCAR, with Toyota rising as the dominant force.
In 2017, Toyota introduced a significant update to the Camry’s bodywork.
It quickly proved to be a good move, as the manufacturer scored 16 wins in 36 races.
Toyota won the manufacturers’ championship that same year by a comfortable margin of 38 points over Ford.
Pocono is a very aerodynamics-dependant track, which heavily favors Toyota’s package.
But the style of racing at the Tricky Triangle plays what’s perhaps the most important role in Busch’s recent run.
The Joe Gibbs driver was second in laps led both in 2017 and 2018.
In 2019, Busch is first with 841 laps led, ahead of Brad Keselowski’s 778.
To put this into perspective, Keselowski led 446 laps at Martinsville, 57% of that total.
In other words, Busch has been running consistently at the top on nearly every track.
His six stage wins prove that point.
When it comes to Pocono, consistency is absolutely key.
Due to the track’s length and width, racing isn’t close, and cars tend to spread around the 2.5 mile layout.
With no packs of cars, accidents and yellow flags are quite rare.
The last five races at Pocono had eight, seven, six, five and four caution flags.
With long green flag stretches, running at the front becomes even more important.
Busch led 205 of 484 laps in his three wins.
If that trend continues this weekend, another win looks like a real possibility.
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