Busch Takes a Bow at Winter Showdown

Busch Takes a Bow at Winter Showdown

A decent finish is never good enough for 2015 NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch.  Following a top five result in 2017’s Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway Park (CA), the Las Vegas driver knew that the Kyle Busch Motorsports team would have to do their homework to be in contention on the ½-mile upon their return.


Busch patiently worked his way to the lead on lap 63 and never looked back on his way to taking his signature bow in victory lane Saturday afternoon.  His victory was a dominant turnaround from the time they arrived less than 48 hours before.


“The car was really good, having a fast race car and being able to have it hooked up to the race track like we did,” Busch told Speed51.com  “Wasn’t sure we’d be able to quite get there from Thursday’s practice, but we certainly got it dialed at the right time for the race.”

With practice sessions and then qualifying taking place at different times of day throughout the weekend, timing the setup to work best during the race’s afternoon hours was key.


“Racing in the sun definitely meant a lot for us because it gave us an opportunity to race these guys in the daylight which was better for us,” Busch noted.


Fast qualifier Buddy Shepherd had one last shot on a final restart with six laps remaining, but instead had to hold off his teammate Daniel Hemric for the runner-up position.


“The race was a little bit up and down,” Shepherd analyzed.  “It seemed like the first half we just wanted to cruise and then we started to tell how the tires kind of went away after a couple of laps.  We tried finding lines running right on the seam of the racetrack where the bank was all the way down to the flat, so that helped me out a lot getting the car rotating because it was tight the whole race.”


Despite coming up one spot short, it was a performance that put the California 18-year-old on the map for those watching worldwide.


“To finish second to one of the best in the world makes you feel pretty good,” Shepherd added.  “I just wish we could have gotten the W.”


The short dash to the finish had Busch potentially a little apprehensive, but in the end did what he needed to do from the drop of the final green flag.


“Anytime you have late-race restarts like that people will try to throw Hail Marys and try to get something that may not be there exactly, but all went well for us,” Busch said.  “We were able to get a good launch off the restart and we got out there ahead of it a little bit and were able to win the thing.”


The only driver who appeared to have something for Busch was last year’s flag-to-flag winner Derek Thorn early on.  As the race went on, the handle continuously went away on the Spears SRL Southwest Tour champion’s new Super Late Model.


“It was a struggle for us,” Thorn admitted.  “We had the speed, but at about lap 25 or 30 of each run we would get really tight.  We worked on it mechanically.  We kept blistering right fronts so we have to go back and kind of see.  I kind of bounced it off the fence a couple times that just didn’t help us.  It just wasn’t a good day for us.”


Some of the Southwest and entire country’s best racers will now have to wait until next year to attempt at unseating Kyle Busch as winner of the Winter Showdown.


On-demand Trackside Now coverage from Saturday at Kern County Raceway can be viewed by clicking here.  51 Network subscribers can also watch the 300-lap, $30,000-to-win on-demand here.


-By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Central NY & PA Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed

-Photo credit: Speed51.com


4th Annual Winter Showdown Official Results

Kern County Raceway (CA) – February 3, 2018

Pos Str No. Driver Laps
1 4 51B Kyle Busch 300
2 1 15 Buddy Shepherd 300
3 3 21H Daniel Hemric 300
4 7 91 Ty Majeski 300
5 11 18G Noah Gragson 300
6 21 9 Derek Kraus 300
7 25 14 Chris Davidson 300
8 5 6 Dominic Ursetta 300
9 2 43 Derek Thorn 300
10 22 2 Craig Raudman 299
11 19 08 Jace Hansen 299
12 14 21E Eric Holmes 298
13 34 27 John Moore 298
14 26 11H Austin Herzog 296
15 35 89 Bobby Hodges 293
16 15 5 Mason Mingus 289
17 9 65 Tyler Tanner 272
18 33 18W Jack Wood 268
19 18 05 Eric Schmidt 266
20 27 33 M.K. Kanke 260
21 10 48 Preston Peltier 257
22 23 75 Jeremy Doss 228
23 6 58 Tyler Ankrum 225
24 16 66B Jeff Bischofberger 164
25 8 66L Logan Bearden 128
26 29 11B Tracy Bolin 122
27 12 17 David Mayhew 116
28 24 21R Blaine Rocha 114
29 20 22 Chris Eggleston 105
30 17 29 Cole Williams 85
31 28 44 Bob Lyon 35
32 13 51V Carlos Vieira 32
33 31 36 Luke Hall 31
34 30 23 Dan Holtz 31
35 32 19M Eddy McKean 18
36 36 24 Scott Sanchez 13