Kyle Busch Is Excited About Returning To Indy

Kyle Busch

HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (July 18, 2016) – Following last year’s Brickyard 400 win at historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch’s taste of victory included a few things that tasted good for different reasons – Skittles, and the famous Yard of Bricks at the start-finish line of the 2.5-mile oval.

 

But just one year after adding his name to the list of winners of one of NASCAR’s crown jewel events, Busch will hope to become only the second driver to win back-to-back Brickyard 400s at Indianapolis. The only other driver to do so, six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, accomplished the feat in 2008 and 2009, becoming the first and only driver to win two in a row at Indianapolis.

 

Busch, driver of the No. 18 Skittles Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), is determined to join Johnson as a back-to-back winner at Indianapolis in Sunday’s Brickyard 400. In fact, there are also very few winners of multiple Brickyard 400s in the race’s 22-year history. Just four drivers reside on that list, and Busch, who loves being a part of history, would love to add his name. He would join multiple Brickyard 400 winners Jeff Gordon, who scored his wins in 1994, 1998, 2001, 2004, and 2014); Johnson the 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2012 winner; Tony Stewart, who won in 2005 and 2007, and Dale Jarrett, who won in 1996 and 1999.

 

While Busch has an impressive nine top-10 finishes in 11 starts at Indianapolis for an average finish of 9.7 – second among active drivers – he has always been a front-runner there. But until he led the final 19 laps in last year’s race, Busch had led just 42 laps there prior to 2015. Busch was finally able to get over the hump and into victory lane by outlasting Kevin Harvick in the closing laps of last year’s event to secure his first Brickyard 400 win. In addition to his strong Sprint Cup record at Indianapolis, he also has two wins and three top-five finishes in the four Xfinity Series races he’s contested at Indianapolis thus far.

 

Sunday’s race at Indianapolis also marks the return of the popular, red Skittles paint scheme for the No. 18 Toyota. Along with Busch’s hopes of kissing the famed Yard of Bricks yet again Sunday afternoon – a tradition for the winning driver and his team at the century-old speedway – fans will also be able to “Taste the Rainbow” one more time this season as the Skittles car will be on track in September at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Busch, who counts Green Apple Skittles among his personal favorite, already competed in the red Skittles scheme at Phoenix International Raceway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway this past spring.

 

So it goes without saying, now that Busch got a “Taste of the Bricks” one year ago, he would like nothing more than to repeat his win and again enjoy the taste of Skittles along the famous “Yard of Bricks” once again.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Skittles Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 
Is it still important to a driver that, before you leave NASCAR, you win a Daytona 500, Southern 500 and Brickyard 400?

 

“It is. It certainly was for us last year. I think that, for myself and the 18 team, winning there (at Indianapolis Motor Speedway) with Skittles last year was pretty awesome because it was our first Brickyard 400 win for me, and for Adam (Stevens) as a crew chief, although he won there as an engineer a couple of times. It was really special as a whole team and they treat it very special there, as well, with the whole ceremony post-race and everything that goes on there with taking the ride around the track and the owner being with you – J.D. (Gibbs) was there last year. That was pretty cool. It is a big deal. I feel like it is for us. For our team, we circle it on the calendar every year – that’s one we want to win. We always circle the Daytona 500, the Coke 600, the All-Star Race, the Brickyard 400, the Southern 500 and Homestead. There’s probably a couple more in there that you want to win, such as any one race within each round of the Chase. You want to win any of those to get yourselves locked in and moving on to the next round just to solidify your chances for being able to win a championship. But, it’s obviously a big race and I guess it still pays pretty decent, so you might as well win it.”

 

What makes the Indianapolis Motor Speedway so special for you as a driver?

 

“I think the biggest thing about the Brickyard is the prestige, the track’s history and quality of racing – all the historic finishes it’s had over the years, whether it has been IndyCar or NASCAR. To me, it’s a special place to go to because of its heritage of being Indianapolis. Every guy in NASCAR and, especially every guy in IndyCar, they want to win there. Getting our Skittles Camry to victory lane there two years in a row would be special for a lot of reasons.”

 

What’s your favorite Brickyard 400 moment from either watching or participating over the years that didn’t involve yourself?

 

“I think my favorite moment from over the years, besides our win there, was probably the first one. I just remember Jeff Gordon being my favorite driver. It was his second full-time season in 1994 and he went to victory lane there in the inaugural race. I think that was pretty cool and pretty special for someone who grew up being a fan of Jeff Gordon.”

 

What does it mean to you to race at Indianapolis?

 

“Indianapolis is a really cool place. It’s got a lot of history. I know the history is not all NASCAR – most of it is IndyCar – but it’s one of America’s oldest speedways. The prestige of winning there is a big deal. It’s a unique place to race. If you are back in traffic, it’s a little more frustrating because it can be hard to pass there. But, if you have a fast racecar, being able to cut the middle and get down the long, fast straightaways is important there. We’ve run well there the past couple of times. We haven’t qualified well, though, and I think we need to focus on qualifying when we get there and, if we can do that, we will be a heck of a lot better off for the race with our Skittles Camry.”

 

What does it take to be successful at Indianapolis?

 

“Indianapolis is probably one of the trickiest places we go to on the schedule – Pocono being one, Darlington being one, Indy being another. It’s so hard to find a particular line that really, really works for you, or really works for your car, because the groove is so narrow. It’s plenty wide for one or one-and-a-half cars but, the line you run around there, you vary 6 inches and it feels so different. You really have to be particular in hitting your marks and getting your car set up. The way it changes throughout the weekend, going from practice, when there’s not much rubber on the racetrack, and then to the race, with a lot of rubber on the racetrack – the trajectory of the corners changes. How wide do you enter the corner? How long do you stay out? How sharp do you turn down? Indy’s definitely a particular racetrack and it’s exciting for us all to go there, especially with the history there and the prestige of winning that event. I’d love nothing more than to win there again on Sunday with my Skittles Camry.”

 

What is it about Indianapolis Motor Speedway that makes it unique compared to other tracks the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits?

 

“It’s very tight down the straightaways. You roll through (turns) one and two and there are people on the inside, there are people on the outside, there are people in the grass, just sitting along the back straightaway on the inside. You’ve got the golf course there, and fans sitting on the hills underneath the trees. You start back up into turn three, with the grandstands going around (turns) three and four, and then down the frontstretch and, again, there are two tunnels. There’s a tunnel at the (turns) one and two side, and on the (turns) three and four side. There’s a center road that runs all the way through and then, coming down the frontstretch again, looking on both sides of you, you’ve got the pit road, which is really narrow and really tight, and the grandstands on the inside and the outside. So, you’re going down a ‘V’ of just people – a sea of people. Coming to the Pagoda and the media center, the way it is, and of course the scoring pylon being as tall as it is, you come down there and, if you’re leading the race, sometimes you can’t see that high, so you’re kind of wondering who is second and third, or who is behind you. It stinks when you’re running in the back because you can see yourself (car number) right there.”

Skittles Racing

Round 20 of 36 – Brickyard 400 – Indianapolis

Car No.: 18 – Skittles Toyota Camry

 

Teammates:  Denny Hamlin – No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota Camry; Carl Edwards – No. 19 Stanley Toyota Camry; Matt Kenseth – No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Camry.

 

At-Track PR Contact: Bill Janitz, True Speed Communication (704-875-3388 ext. 803 or Bill.Janitz@TrueSpeedCommunication.com).

Primary Team Members:

Driver: Kyle Busch

Hometown: Las Vegas

 

Crew Chief: Adam Stevens

Hometown: Portsmouth, Ohio

 

Car Chief: Nate Bellows

Hometown: Fairfax, Vermont

 

Team Engineer: Ben Beshore

Hometown: Hometown York, Pennsylvania

 

Engine Specialist: Mike Johnson

Hometown: Bozeman, Montana

 

Spotter: Tony Hirschman

Hometown: Northampton, Pennsylvania

Over-The-Wall Crew Members:

Gas Man: Tom Lampe

Hometown: Beatrice, Nebraska

 

Front Tire Changer: Josh Leslie

Hometown: Mount Clemens, Michigan

 

Jackman: TJ Ford

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Front Tire Carrier: Brad Donaghy

Hometown: Orange County, Virginia

 

Rear Tire Carrier: Kenny Barber

Hometown: Hoosick Falls, New York

 

Rear Tire Changer: Jake Seminara

Hometown: Steubenville, Ohio

 

Pit Support: Marcus Bonicelli

Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colorado

 

Pit Support: Jeff Koons

Hometown: Greenfield, Indiana

Road Crew Members:

Truck Drivers: Brendan Greene and Jamie Price

Hometowns: Midland, North Carolina, and Choteau, Montana, respectively

 

Tire Specialist: Gregory Katzke

Hometown: Wausau, Wisconsin

 

Interior Mechanic: Wesley Lape

Hometown: Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania

 

Team Engineer: Gene Watchtel

Hometown: Clearwater, Florida

 

Ride and Handling Engineer: Chris Chase

Hometown: Nichols, New York

 

Rear End Mechanic: Chris Jones

Hometown: Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia

 

Mechanic: Todd Foster

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama

 

Front End Mechanic: Brandon Griffeth

Hometown: Pittsfield, Illinois

Notes of Interest:
  • The Brickyard 400 will mark Kyle Busch’s 410th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 12th Sprint Cup start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
  • Busch has career totals of 37 wins, 18 poles, 140 top-fives, 206 top-10s and 11,810 laps led in 409 career Sprint Cup races. His most recent Sprint Cup win came in May at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, his first Sprint Cup win at the 1.5-mile oval. Busch notched his most recent pole position 16 races ago at Phoenix International Raceway, the 18th of his career.
  • Busch has one win, four top-five finishes and nine top-10s and has led a total of 61 laps in 11 career Sprint Cup starts at Indianapolis. His average Indianapolis finish is 9.7.
  • 37 Career Sprint Cup Wins: With his Sprint Cup win at Kansas in May, the 37th of his career, Busch is tied for 19th on the all-time Sprint Cup win list with NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Issac and Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Matt Kenseth.
  • Good Company: Busch, who became just the 13th driver to win a Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis, will look to become just the second driver to win back-to-back races at the 2.5-mile oval as Jimmie Johnson is the only one to accomplish the feat, which came in 2008 and 2009. Also, there are only four drivers with multiple Sprint Cup wins at Indianapolis. Those drivers include Jeff Gordon (1994, 1998, 2001, 2004, and 2014), Johnson (2006, 2008, 2009, and 2012), Tony Stewart (2005 and 2007), and Dale Jarrett (1996 and 1999).
  • Trimming the List: With Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Kansas wins added to the list this season, Busch has won Sprint Cup races at 21 of the 23 tracks at which the series competes. The only two tracks he has yet to conquer in the Sprint Cup series are Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. During his 2015 Sprint Cup championship season, Busch checked off Indianapolis and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Four of Busch’s last five Sprint Cup wins have been his first at each track in NASCAR’s top series (Indianapolis, Homestead, Martinsville and Kansas).
  • Diverse Driver: Busch’s last 11 Sprint Cup wins have come at different racetracks.
  • 164 and Counting: Busch enters Indianapolis with 164 career wins among NASCAR’s top three divisions – Sprint Cup (37), Xfinity (82) and Truck (45) – after winning the Xfinity Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon last weekend.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.