Kyle Busch won't be in Las Vegas for the Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony this weekend, but there's a silver lining: It frees him up to run the Snowball Derby on Sunday.
Busch will make his return to a race some consider to be short track Late Model racing's Super Bowl, an event he won in 2009 – his most recent attempt. Busch has competed in the Pensacola, Fla. event regularly since making his debut there in 2003.
“This is a huge race that a lot of people want to win,” Busch said. “It doesn’t matter if you're from the Late Model ranks or someone from any number of different backgrounds. You always hear about the race and want to go run it.
“To win it back in 2009 was phenomenal. We had a really good car that day and worked really hard all weekend -- it certainly didn't come easy. We had three cars in the field that day. Johnny Sauter was crew chiefing for Brian Scott and we had Brian Ickler in a third car that weekend and it was pretty fun. You can take a lot from that experience and put it towards the next time you go there and so hopefully we can get to Victory Lane again.”
For Busch, races like the Snowball Derby represent a chance to give back to the grassroots racing community and experience his favorite style of racing.
“This is something fun to do for myself and it’s my favorite type of race car,” Busch said. “They look good, they drive good and there are a lot of open rules so you can try to do some different things. It has all that going for it which just gives you that much more enjoyment to go do it.
“We’re just happy to give back to the short tracks and bring fans out to the stands. We've seen some years where it’s been down, but Late Model racing has really come on strong this year. And being able to run a 300-lap Late Model event with live pit stops included is my favorite style of racing."
The Snowball Derby will be his fifth Super Late Model start of the season, an impressive feat given his NASCAR commitments. His season has closely mirrored that of his Sprint Cup campaign in that he's won twice and crashed out of the other two. In short, it's been feast or famine. But none of that will have mattered should Busch manage to capture a second victory in Pensacola.
“The Derby has been around for a long time and a lot of Sprint Cup drivers have done it and like going to this race and seeing where they stack up against the best Late Model competition,” Busch said. “I enjoy doing that and short track racing is where I come from and I like to give back to that community as much as I can.”