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Kyle Busch hopes for better luck at Kansas Speedway

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Just about everything that could go wrong at Kansas Speedway has for Kyle Busch.

During the April race weekend, the driver of the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing wrecked in practice. He crashed out of the Truck Series race the next day. Then he spun twice more in the Sprint Cup race, finishing 38th after a hard crash ended his afternoon.

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Things haven’t been a whole lot better this weekend, as the Sprint Cup drivers prepare for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400, the fourth race in the 10-race Chase for the Championship.

Busch hit the wall hard in the opening minute of practice Saturday and again will be in a backup car for the race.

If there’s ever a time to figure things, it’s now. Busch is sitting third in the points, within striking distance of leader Matt Kenseth and second-place Jimmie Johnson, two drivers who have fared much better in the heartland.

Busch has strung together three straight top-five finishes, and after testing Goodyear’s new tire at Kansas this summer, he is confident he can turn around his fortunes.

‘‘It’s not that you might not like a track or might not like a race or something like that,’’ Busch said. ‘‘It’s just a matter of trying to figure it out.”

Kevin Harvick, who is tied with Jeff Gordon for fourth, ended a 254-race pole drought and will lead the field to the green flag. Johnson will start in the second row next to defending series champ Brad Keselowski, who is trying to play spoiler after missing the Chase.

Busch has taken the green flag in 12 Cup races at Kansas and has yet to win. It’s the only track on which he has never finished in the top five.

Busch has crashed out of the last two races at the 1½-mile trioval, the first two races at Kansas since a regrade and repave significantly altered the way it drives.

‘‘I thought we were running decent there last fall,” said Busch. “Actually, I was leading and I spun myself out while I was leading.”

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