Kyle Busch And His Pedigree Team Prepare For The Monster Mile

Kyle Busch

Fans attending this weekend’s NASCAR races at Dover (Del.) International Speedway will be seeing double when it comes to the PEDIGREE® brand colors during races at the concrete mile oval.

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 PEDIGREE® Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), will sport the familiar yellow colors for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA 400 Drive for Autism.

Fans will also see double throughout the Dover weekend as the PEDIGREE® Brand will also back talented up-and-coming driver Todd Gilliland in Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). The 17-year old Gilliland, son of former PEDIGREE® driver David Gilliland, is scheduled to make his Truck Series debut in Friday afternoon’s race.

Gilliland has much in common with his team owner Busch, as not only have the two found victory lane on a regular basis, they are also dog enthusiasts, which makes the fit for the PEDIGREE® brand with KBM and Gilliland that much more special. While this will be his debut in NASCAR’s third-tier series, Gilliland has been impressive so far in K&N West Series action by bringing home 11 wins in just 21 starts. Thus, Gilliland and Busch will no doubt be contenders to win the Truck and Cup Series races this weekend at Dover.

While Gilliland has never raced at Dover, he won’t need to look far for advice from Busch, who has had a lot of success at Dover over the years in all three of NASCAR’s touring series.  Busch and his PEDIGREE® team have a strong resume at the track affectionately known as the “Monster Mile” – two Cup Series wins, five NASCAR Xfinity Series wins and four Truck Series wins. Busch has led 1,039 laps in his previous 24 Cup Series starts at Dover, an average of almost 46.3 per race. He will look to improve on his runner-up finish at Dover last fall, which is among his 11 top-five finishes and 15 top-10s there.

So, as Busch and his PEDIGREE® team prepare for battle, it’s with the confidence he knows how to get the job done at Dover. Even better, should the young Gilliland start off the weekend on the right foot Friday, the stage would be set for the PEDIGREE® driver duo to enjoy a fun “Double Weekend for the Dogs” on the Delmarva Peninsula.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 PEDIGREE® Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 
What are the team’s goals this weekend at Dover?

“We just need keep executing as a team like we’ve been doing pretty much every week. Dover has been a good place for me. We ran really well there in the fall and had a strong second-place run there. I know Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and all the PEDIGREE® guys are working hard to have a good car off the truck and get us off to a strong start this weekend and, hopefully, we can finish off a strong run there this time. We have a big weekend with the first race for Todd (Gilliland) in the PEDIGREE® Truck Friday night, so we’re hoping both of us can have some success this weekend and bring home a couple of wins for PEDIGREE®.”

What does it take to be successful at Dover?

“Dover, being a concrete track, is challenging. They’re all a challenge but Dover is especially so, just because of the way you have to run around that place. The way tires sometimes wear out. The way the rubber gets put down there. You’ve got to be fast through the corner. Two-thirds of your lap time is through the turns rather than down the straightaway, so you definitely have to make sure you have a good-handling racecar – one that’s good in the beginning of the run on low air pressures and one that’s good at the end of the run on high air pressures, and even through traffic, too. Some of the most challenging times are when you’re trying to get through traffic with guys.”

Do you enjoy racing at Dover?

“It’s definitely a fast racetrack. It’s a fun racetrack, too. It makes it interesting when you get to traffic, when you have to pass guys, when you’re kind of falling down into the hole and jumping back up out of the hole to the straightaways. It’s a good place to race. It’s a competitive racetrack and, when the rubber gets laid down, it definitely changes the whole atmosphere and the whole way you run around that place.”

Does going from concrete to asphalt change the way the car handles?

“We don’t run on an asphalt racetrack that’s banked like that or shaped like that. The mile tracks we go to that are asphalt are Phoenix and Loudon, and they are relatively flat. The concrete just changes the feel a little bit, of course, and changes the way you approach the racetrack, too.”

You have two Cup Series wins and a competitive history at Dover. What is your outlook with your history there?

“I love that place. It’s fun to race there and it’s a place I’m looking forward to going to with our PEDIGREE® Camry. I went there when I was 18 to race in the Xfinity Series for my first time. It will scare you the first time you race there. You carry so much speed at that racetrack and, for it to be a mile in length and for it to be concrete – concrete surfaces that we race on, anyway, are a little bit slick. It’s definitely a roller-coaster ride and you need to treat it like it’s fun and not to be scared of the place, I think, because you can get so much out of that place. There are two ways about it – you can probably be really, really good there, or really, really bad there. Some days you’re going to be better than others, obviously, with how you can get your car set up compared to the competition.”

PEDIGREE® Racing

Race 13 of 36 – AAA Drive for Autism – Dover

Car No.: 18 – PEDIGREE® Toyota Camry

 

Teammates:  Denny Hamlin – No. 11 Toyota Camry; Daniel Suarez – No. 19 Toyota Camry; Matt Kenseth – No. 20 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 AAA 400 Drive for Autism will mark Kyle Busch’s 439th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 25th NASCAR Cup Series start at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
  • Busch has career totals of 38 wins, 19 poles, 151 top-five finishes, 224 top-10s and 12,940 laps led in 438 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, 11 top-five finishes and 15 top-10s and has led a total of 1,139 laps in 24 career Cup Series starts at Dover. Busch’s average Dover finish is14.7.
  • 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 points-paying 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. So far this season, Busch won the non-points Monster Energy All-Star race at Charlotte two weekends ago and came very close this past weekend at Charlotte by finishing second inSunday night’s Coca-Cola 600.
  • 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.
  • 172 and Counting: Busch enters Dover with 172 career wins among NASCAR’s top three divisions – Cup (38), Xfinity (87) and Truck (48) following his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win two weekends ago at Charlotte.

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

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