Kyle Busch Looks To Sweep The Atlanta Weekend

Kyle Busch

In his 10th season with Toyota flagship Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 SNICKERS® Crisper Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend, the place where the winning began in 2008 with JGR, Mars Inc. and its SNICKERS® brand, and Toyota.

Back in 2008, his first year with JGR, Busch headed to Atlanta for the fourth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season aiming to bring home his first win for the team’s two new partners – Mars Chocolate North America and Toyota.

After leading a race-high 173 laps, the Las Vegas native captured his first win for the SNICKERS® brand and also the first win in NASCAR’s top series for Toyota, which was in its second year of Cup Series competition and its first year with JGR.

The win also marked the end of a 147-race drought for JGR’s No. 18 team, and it was Busch’s first of 30 Cup Series wins for JGR, so far. Busch has now totaled 149 overall wins among NASCAR’s top three series driving Toyota vehicles – 34 in the Cup Series, 75 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and 40 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Add 21 overall wins prior to joining JGR at the beginning of 2008 and Busch is at 170 combined Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series wins, and counting.

It was déjà vu all over again for Busch and the No. 18 team at Atlanta in 2013 as he led 36 laps en route to his 100th overall win in a Toyota and his 24th Cup Series win with JGR.

This weekend, Busch will also have the SNICKERS® Crisper scheme along for the ride once again after the scheme debuted last August at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. The SNICKERS® Crisper is “crispy satisfaction” in the form of crisped rice and peanuts, topped with a layer of caramel and coated in creamy SNICKERS® brand milk chocolate. A singles pack of SNICKERS® Crisper contains two squares that are less than 100 calories each. For more information on SNICKERS® or the Crisper variety, fans can visit SNICKERS® on Facebook or Twitter.

Busch is especially looking forward to competing at Atlanta this weekend as it will be the last event on the track’s current racing surface. The 1.5-mile oval is set to be repaved before NASCAR makes its next visit in 2018. Busch and his entire No. 18 SNICKERS® Crisper Toyota Camry team hope to add to their winning ways at Atlanta by rolling up their collective sleeves as they try to rekindle the magic from 2008 and 2013 in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.

So as the Cup Series heads back to Atlanta, Busch and the SNICKERS® Crisper team will undoubtedly be feeling just a bit nostalgic with the SNICKERS® colors on the racecar, all the while recalling those 2008 and 2013 race wins at the 1.5-mile oval where the winning all began.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 SNICKERS Crisper Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 
What kind of race are you expecting at Atlanta this year?
“The racetrack has aged really nicely, where it’s probably aged too much, and is probably why they have no choice but to repave it. It’s a place where you can run the bottom all the way from the white line all the way to the wall and anywhere in-between. You have to have a good car there, but it’s a neat racetrack with the way you can race around and move around and not get too comfortable running one lane. Our guys have brought good cars there in the past and I’m hoping we can go for the win with our SNICKERS Crisper Camry.”
Are your expectations high going to Atlanta since JGR has won several races there over the years?
“Atlanta is one of those places where anything can happen and we’ll definitely have to be on our toes there this weekend since it’s the first race there with less downforce than even last year, and our first race at a 1.5-mile oval this season. You have to have good grip there, you have to have good (tire) fall-off – you have to be fast to start a run, yet you don’t want to fall off more than anybody else – so you have to take care of your stuff and bide your time a little bit. That lends itself to options by the driver to either push hard early or save a little and be there late.”
Is Atlanta like a tuneup for other upcoming mile-and-a-half tracks?
“Every weekend is a test of what you try, what you want to do differently, and see if you can find anything else that works for you. Atlanta is a lot different than most of the other mile-and-halves just because of the asphalt and the way the grip is and the way the tire is. You don’t necessarily see the same sorts of things at the other mile-and-a-halves that you will at Atlanta.”
What are your memories of racing in Atlanta?
“I’ve won a few Truck Series races there. That was fun. I finally won an Xfinity race there last year. I finished second three or four times, so it’s been an Achilles heel for me until then, I guess. The Cup races there, I’ve either been really good or really bad, it seems. There have been times where I’ve been really good throughout the event. I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t seem to keep the grip in my car for the long haul, as long as you need to throughout a run.”
What does it take to be successful at Atlanta?
“It takes a lot of things. You have to have a lot of grip, you have to have a lot of downforce, you have to have tire management, a great engine, and fuel mileage, too. There are a lot of circumstances it can come down to at the end and what it will boil down to.”
What did you think of the speed at Atlanta the first time you raced there?
“My first time there was 2003 in an Xfinity Series car and it was definitely fast. It’s all relative. You run the same speed around everybody and it really doesn’t feel that fast, so it feels like you do anywhere else, whether you’re at Las Vegas or Chicago or Kansas or any of those places.”
SNICKERS Crisper Racing

Race 2 of 36 – Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 – Atlanta

Car No.: 18 – SNICKERS Crisper Toyota Camry

 

Teammates:  Denny Hamlin – No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry; Daniel Suarez – No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry; Matt Kenseth – No. 20 DeWalt FlexVolt 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

 

Race 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: Jon Desrocher

Hometown: Plattsburgh, New York

 

Interior Mechanic: Wesley Lape

Hometown: Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania

 

Race Engineer: Tyler Allen

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

 

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 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 will mark Kyle Busch’s 428th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 19th NASCAR Cup Series start at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
• Busch has career totals of 38 wins, 19 poles, 147 top-five finishes, 219 top-10s and 12,374 laps led in 427 career Cup Series races. His most recent Cup Series win came in July 2016 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, when he brought home his second consecutive win at the historic 2.5-mile oval. Busch’s win came from the pole position, his most recent pole and the 19th of his career.
• Busch has two wins, five top-five finishes and six top-10s and has led a total of 423 laps in 18 career Cup Series starts at Atlanta. Busch’s average Atlanta finish is 15.2.
• 38 Career Cup Series Wins: With his Cup Series win at Indianapolis last July, the 38th of his career, Busch is tied for 19th on the all-time Cup Series win list with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) teammate Matt Kenseth.
• Trimming the List: With wins at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and Kansas Speedway in Kansas City added to the list last season, Busch has won Cup Series races at 21 of the 23 tracks at which the series competes. The only two tracks he has yet to conquer in the Cup Series are Pocono (Pa) Raceway and Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. During his 2015 Cup Series championship season, Busch checked off Indianapolis and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Four of Busch’s last six Cup Series wins have been his first at each track in NASCAR’s top series (Indianapolis, Homestead, Martinsville and Kansas). Of the 21 different tracks where Busch has won, he has multiple wins at 11 of them.
• All-Time JGR Wins Leader: With his Brickyard 400 last July, Busch passed three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart for most all-time Cup Series wins for JGR. Busch now has 34 wins for JGR to Stewart’s 33.
• 170 and Counting: Busch enters Atlanta with 170 career wins among NASCAR’s top three divisions – Cup (38), Xfinity (86) and Truck (46).
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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