After coming up two spots short in his inaugural Showdown appearance in 2017, Busch returned to the premier Super Late Model event on the West coast on a mission to bring home the trophy and the $30,000 oversized check. After starting from the fourth position, the Las Vegas native moved into second on lap 26, and after a hard-fought battle spanning several laps took the lead from two-time Showdown winner Derek Thorn on lap 63.
The Mobil 1 Camry would remain out front for the remainder of the 300-lap event, opening large leads during the lengthy green-flag runs. Busch had a lead of over four seconds when the fourth and final caution slowed the field with six laps remaining. A strong restart helped him pull away over the final five laps to finish 1.783 seconds ahead of pole sitter Buddy Shepherd.
KBM driver Noah Gragson started the event from the 11th position, made his way as high as second, and ended up finishing fifth.
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Mobil 1 Camry
How special is it to win another crown jewel Late Model race?
“It was an awesome day — I didn’t think it was going to turn out this way after practice on Thursday, but the guys really went to work on this Mobil 1 Toyota Camry. I can’t say enough about everybody at Rowdy Manufacturing – this is a KBM car, a Rowdy car. Our Hamner Racing engine was so strong underneath the hood today. Thank you to Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development). Thanks to all the fans out here today at Kern County Raceway — you guys are awesome coming out and supporting your local short track. I can’t say enough about Wayne and Connie Spears — they do an amazing job for the West Coast and what they do to keep the SRL going and everybody at the Southwest Series. It was a lot of fun racing against Derek Thorn, Buddy Shepherd, Noah (Gragson) there for a little while and everybody else we had to race with today. It was a blast — I had fun. I love these cars and was able to go out there and have a great day.”
What does it mean to come out today and win the Winter Showdown?
“It means the world. It’s something that I am passionate about — I love short track racing and the Super Late Models, they are my favorite. I like traveling across the country and racing these things – we’ve won in Michigan, we’ve won in Canada, won in Indiana, Florida, Georgia, everywhere. I can’t say that I’ve ever won in California — so this is my first time in California winning with one of these cars. That’s pretty awesome to do it here in the Spears Winter Showdown. It’s a lot of fun and there is great competition out here as well – these guys aren’t slouches by any means. We had our stuff really hooked up today and I want to thank Lincoln Welders, Basset Wheels, Five Star Bodies, Schroth, Interstate Batteries, Axalta, SRI, Stock Car Steel and ProMoly – they do a lot of work for as well. It’s a blast to come out with all of our partners and put on a great show for the fans.”
Notable wins for the KBM Late Model team since its inception in 2007 include: Wisconsin All-Star 100 at the Milwaukee Mile (Kyle Busch 2008), Red Bud 300 at Anderson Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009), Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009, Erik Jones 2013 & 2014 and Noah Gragson 2017), Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009 & 2017 and Erik Jones 2013), SpeedFest at Lanier National Speedway (Kyle Busch 2009 & 2010), SpeedFest at Watermelon Capital Speedway (Kyle Busch 2012), Rowdy 251 at Berlin Raceway (Kyle Busch 2010, 2011 & 2012), All-American 400 at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville (TJ Reaid 2010), Slinger Nationals at Slinger Super Speedway (Kyle Busch 2011), the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway (Kyle Busch 2011), Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond International Raceway (Kyle Busch 2013), the Howie Lettow Memorial at the Milwaukee Mile (Kyle Busch 2013 and Erik Jones 2014), the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway (Christopher Bell 2015) and the Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway (Kyle Busch, 2018).