After a two-week break, the Nationwide Series resumes its schedule on Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway.
Kyle Busch has been the hottest driver in the series this season, winning three of the last four races, including the previous two (Bristol and California). Busch, a Sprint Cup Series regular, is behind the wheel of the No. 54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in Nationwide this season. Last year, he did not score a victory in NASCAR's second-tier series while driving for his own team.
Most of Busch's record 54 victories in Nationwide have come with JGR. He won five races in a row at Texas from 2008-10. Busch also has victories in the Camping World Truck Series at this track but has yet to win a Sprint Cup event here.
"The Nationwide Series wins the last several years and getting the win in the Truck Series the last couple of years have been real confidence-boosters there," Busch said. "I've sort of learned how to drive it a little bit better, and I know what I need in my race car to make it easier. The cars that JGR has given me since I joined the team have also been a confidence-booster there."
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth and Busch are those full-time Sprint Cup competitors scheduled for this race.
Harvick also has five Nationwide wins at Texas. The Richard Childress Racing driver led 127 of 200 laps in his victory here last November.
"We just had a good handling race car, and we were able to get the track position and take control of the race," Harvick said. "Our car was really good on the long run, so if we could hold off the cars behind us for eight or 10 laps, we knew we were going to be good, because the car was so strong as the run went on. Hopefully, we can do that again this race."
Sam Hornish Jr. presently holds a 28-point lead in the Nationwide standings. Hornish won at Las Vegas, a 1.5-mile racetrack similar to Texas, one month ago. He is the only driver in the series with top-10 finishes in each of the first five races this season.
"It feels great to know that we have a legitimate shot at winning every weekend," said Hornish, who finished second in the most recent race on March 23 in Fontana, Calif. "We are having a good time, and I am ready to race."
Hornish has finished seventh in two of the last three Nationwide races at Texas. He won an IndyCar event at this track three times (2001, '02 and '07).
Forty-six teams are on the preliminary entry list for the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300.
Series: NASCAR Nationwide. Date: Friday, April 12. Race: O'Reilly Auto Parts 300. Site: Texas Motor Speedway. Track: 1.5-mile oval. Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET. Laps: 200. Miles: 300. 2012 Winner: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Television: ESPN 2. Radio: Performance Racing Network (PRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.