After rivals Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon said during the week they thought he was slipping following two straight lackluster finishes, Busch answered by making NASCAR history on Sunday. He led 52 laps from the pole and won the Centurion Boats at The Glen at Watkins Glen International to become the first driver in NASCAR's history to win three road course races in one season.
"That's pretty neat, pretty special to me," said Busch, who finished second Saturday in the Nationwide race here. "To be a force to be reckoned with means a lot. This year has just been phenomenal. It's just crazy."
Busch, who also clinched the top spot in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup title, has won 16 races in NASCAR's top three series this season - eight in Sprint Cup, six in Nationwide and two in trucks. His win Sunday completed a trifecta on road courses that includes the Nationwide race in Mexico in April and the Cup race at Sonoma in June.
Busch also joined another select group. Only Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon had swept both Cup road course events in the same year.
"That kid's awesome," said Steve Addington, Busch's crew chief. "I can't believe we don't win a race in three or four weeks and we're in a slump."
Actually, Busch has won four of the past seven races, and Sunday's victory gives him 80 bonus points for the Chase, 50 more than Carl Edwards with four races remaining before the postseason. Drivers get 10 bonus points for a victory.
After a 43-minute red-flag stoppage due to a multicar pileup with eight laps to go, Busch held off Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Stewart, who was bidding for his fifth win here in seven starts. Stewart settled for his second straight runner-up finish and moved within 10 points of Jeff Gordon for sixth in the standings.