Despite Las Vegas being his home track, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway has not been kind to Kurt Busch.
In nine starts entering this weekend, Busch had one top five and two top tens coupled with DNFs in 2003 and 2008.
"It's something that you can't count your chickens before they hatch, but this would be a special win," Busch said. "It's hard to talk about it and play what-if."
The weekend, however, got off to a promising start. On Friday Busch finished practice 21st on the speed charts but later that day qualified on pole for his hometown race. Something that brought the former champion to tears in the media center.
But what Busch really wanted to do was what younger brother Kyle did last year: win at the track they watched be built.
"To me and Kyle, it's like a Daytona-type atmosphere, and we want to go out and win this big daddy," Busch explained.
Unexpectedly, both practice sessions went on despite concerns of rain. Busch ended the first of those in third, and ended happy hour 16th in speed.
Busch was hopeful for the race ahead on Sunday.
Unfortunately, it didn't go the way one of Vegas' favorite son would have hoped.
Despite starting on the pole, Busch failed to lead a single lap on the day, losing the lead when Jeff Gordon passed him.
Busch's struggling day got worse when, on lap 92 he was the innocent victim of contact betweent Ganassi teammates Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray. The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge would come down pit road several time to fix damage, going three laps down in the process.
A tough day in his home state ended with Busch finishing eight laps behind winner Jimmie Johnson in 35th position. He is now 19th in points headed into Atlanta next weekend.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series enters the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Kobalt Tools 500. Fans can watch that race live on FOX at one p.m. Eastern time.
Thanks to Scene Daily, FOX, NASCAR.com, Racing Reference and NASCAR on FOX for the information used in this post.
For Patti Rodisch's recap of Kevin Harvick's weekend, click here.