When the NASCAR season resumes on Sunday with The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway, it will kick off an eleven-day stretch with seven races across the three national series (Cup, Xfinity, Gander RV & Outdoors Trucks). Although drivers will generally stick to their respective series, the demanding conditions will hit quickly as they return to the car for the first time in two months and are expected to tackle one of NASCAR’s toughest ovals at Darlington and the sport’s longest race with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, with more races sandwiched between on weekdays.
For Kyle Busch and Timmy Hill, they intend to tackle the full gauntlet. During a Thursday interview with Adam Schein on SiriusXM Radio, Busch confirmed he will run all seven races at Darlington and Charlotte. Hill followed suit in a more lighthearted manner on Twitter shortly after.
The slate consists of four Cup races, two Xfinity dates, and a Truck stop. There will be two Cup rounds at Darlington on 17 and 20 May (the latter a 500-km race), while the Charlotte weekend includes the 600 on 24 May and a 500-km event three days later. The Xfinity Series will run a 200-miler at Darlington two days after The Real Heroes 400 on Sunday and a 300-miler at Charlotte a day after the 600. The Trucks are scheduled to race on 26 May, sandwiched between the Xfinity and second Cup dates.
The reigning Cup champion, Busch has dominated the Xfinity and Truck Series. He is the winningest driver in the former’s history, while he holds a seven-race winning streak in the latter dating back to 2018; his Truck success eventually prompted fellow driver Kevin Harvick and Gander RV head Marcus Lemonis to issue a bounty to any full-time Cup racer who could beat him in a Truck event. The bounty’s future is currently unknown after the season was halted.
“I’m running all of those, every one of them that’s scheduled, I’m in,” Busch said in the interview. “It’s gonna be getting thrown to the wolves, that’s for sure.”
However, he added the stretch will probably not be as stressful as many anticipate as practice sessions and qualifying have been cancelled for time constraints. A random draw was conducted on Thursday afternoon to determine the starting grid for The Real Heroes 400, with Busch drawing fourth.
“When we go to these race tracks and have practice and qualifying; we have practice and qualifying for every one of those divisions,” Busch commented. “With this, all you can do is show up and get in the vehicle and you run the race. So I feel as though, it sounds really labour-intensive and heavy and man, that’s a lot. But in my mind, I’m kinda like, ‘Man, I don’t know if it’s gonna be that bad,’ but I’ll let you know when it’s all said and done.”
Busch’s #18 Joe Gibbs Racing car will feature special liveries for the Darlington races, including a tribute to medical workers for The Real Heroes 400. He will also run the Xfinity races with JGR, while his Truck start comes with his Kyle Busch Motorsports operation.
Hill, who starts thirty-sixth in Sunday’s race, had a productive two months as he unofficially won the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series championship. An iRacing veteran, he scored a win at Texas Motor Speedway and recorded top-five finishes in all but one race. Mathematically, he beat out Garrett Smithley for the title by 32 points.
In real life, the Maryland native has become a fan favourite. Despite spending much of his career racing for smaller organisations, he turned heads with impressive runs for MBM Motorsports, including a seventh-place finish in the Xfinity Bristol Motor Speedway race in 2019, finishing third in the 2020 Xfinity opener, and qualifying for the 2020 Daytona 500.
He is currently running the full Cup schedule with MBM with a number of Xfinity starts for the team. Like Busch, Hill is also an owner/driver at the Truck level, and will run the Charlotte race for his Hill Motorsports team.