Kyle Busch has long said he wants to reach 200 NASCAR national series victories before he retires – a goal that will become more challenging since the driver has cut back his racing schedule for 2012.
Busch will not race in the Camping World Truck Series this season after driving in 16 events last year – and winning six of them – and will reduce his Nationwide Series schedule by a handful of races (from 20 to approximately 15).
So with fewer opportunities to collect trophies, can Busch still reach 200 victories?
"There's no telling," he said last week during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour. "I wish we could win eight races a year in Cup and eight races a year in Nationwide. That's 16 races a year, and that's not bad. Granted, you could probably win five or six truck races a year and that puts you at 21 or 22 races a year, but the focal point now...needs to be on the Cup deal and trying to win a championship there."
Busch currently has 104 wins across NASCAR's top three series – 23 in Sprint Cup, 51 in Nationwide and 30 in Trucks. He's 26 years old, so if he averaged 6.8 wins per season (modest by his standards) and raced until he was 40, he would still be able to reach his goal.
"I still want the 200 wins someday," he said.
Though Busch has avoided comparisons to Richard Petty's 200 Cup wins, 200 national series victories in the modern era could at least be mentioned in the same breath. Petty won some of his Cup races by entering mid-week events against competition that might be comparable to what the Truck or Nationwide Series is today.
Joe Gibbs Racing asked Busch to reduce his schedule this year because it wants him to avoid distractions and focus on Sprint Cup Series racing – particularly after last fall's Texas incident in which Busch intentionally wrecked Ron Hornaday and got suspended.
He'll still be in the Nationwide Series – Busch will split a ride at Kyle Busch Motorsports with his brother, Kurt – but the Truck races will certainly have a different look without the driver they call "Rowdy."
"I'm definitely going to miss it," he said. "I love it. ... I've had a great time running over there and racing against these competitors and winning. ... Unfortunately, I'm going to take a step back and not do it this season to allow Kyle Busch Motorsports to develop into something that can sustain itself without me being the driver."
Jason Leffler will drive KBM's entry in the Truck Series this year, though the team is still seeking funding for a full season.
Busch pointed out his participation in the Truck races was always just for fun.
"Truthfully, I don't have to run truck races," he said. "My fans love it, and I love racing truck races for them."