Kyle Busch Is Eager For Another Win At Atlanta

Kyle Busch

In his 11th season with Toyota flagship Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 SNICKERS® Almond Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend, the place where the winning began in 2008 with JGR, the SNICKERS® brand of Mars Inc., 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 those maiden victories for the team’s two new partners – Mars Wrigley Confectionery U.S. and Toyota.

After leading a race-high 173 laps, the Las Vegas native broke through for the SNICKERS® brand and also for the first time 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 39 Cup Series wins for JGR to date. Busch now has 162 overall wins among NASCAR’s top three series driving Toyota vehicles – 39 in the Cup Series, 80 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, and 43 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Add his 21 wins prior to joining JGR at the beginning of 2008 and Busch is at 183 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 career win in a Toyota and his 24th Cup Series win with JGR.

This weekend, Busch will debut the SNICKERS® Almond scheme. Available at retailers nationwide, SNICKERS® Almond Bar handles hunger with a satisfying combination of roasted almonds, caramel and milk chocolate. For more information on SNICKERS® or the Almond variety, fans can visit SNICKERS® on Facebook or Twitter.

Busch and his entire No. 18 SNICKERS® Almond 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® Almond 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 Almond 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 why they will have to pave it at some point soon. It’s a place where you can run the bottom all the way from the white line 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 Almond 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 with our first race at a 1.5-mile oval this season. We didn’t fare well in this race last year, so I’m hoping we have a better race this time around. 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 at Atlanta?

“I’ve won a few Truck Series races there. That was fun. I won for the first time in an Xfinity race there two years ago and again last year, so that was very cool. I finished second three or four times, so it had been an Achilles heel for me, 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 Almond Racing

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

Car No.: 18 – SNICKERS Almond Toyota Camry

 

Teammates:  Denny Hamlin – No. 11 Toyota Camry; Daniel Suarez – No. 19 Toyota Camry; Erik Jones – 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: Matt Tyrrell

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

 

Front Tire Changer: Cam Waugh

Hometown: Johnstown, Colorado

 

Jackman: T.J. Ford

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Tire Carrier: Joe Crossen

Hometown: Salisbury, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Changer: Jeff Cordero

Hometown: Salem, Connecticut

 

Pit Support: Brian Eastland

Hometown: New Bern, North Carolina

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

 

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

 

Interior Mechanic: Todd Foster

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama

Notes of Interest:
  • The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 will mark Kyle Busch’s 464th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 20th NASCAR Cup Series start at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
  • Busch has career totals of 43 wins, 27 poles, 161 top-five finishes, 241 top-10s and 14,381 laps led in 463 career Cup Series racesHis most recent Cup Series win came in October at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Busch’s most recent pole, the 27th of his career, came in September at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. He had eight poles last season, a career high.
  • Busch has two wins, five top-five finishes and six top-10s and has led a total of 423 laps in 19 career Cup Series starts at Atlanta. Busch’s average Atlanta finish is 15.3.
  • 43 Career Cup Series Wins: With his Cup Series win at Martinsville last October, the 43rd points-paying win of his career, Busch now sits alone in 17th on the all-time Cup Series win list, and one win behind NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott for 16th all-time. With his 40th Cup Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August, Busch became the fourth-youngest driver to reach 40 Cup wins at 32 years, 109 days, behind only Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon, and Herb Thomas.
  • Trimming the List: With wins at Martinsville and Kansas Speedway in Kansas City added to the list in 2016, and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway crossed off the list in July 2017, Busch has won Cup Series points races at 22 of the 23 tracks at which the series competes. The only track remaining to conquer in the Cup Series is Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Busch was the winner of the All-Star non-points race at Charlotte last May but is still chasing a points-paying Cup Series victory there. During his 2015 Cup Series championship season, Busch checked off Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Homestead. Of the 22 different tracks where Busch has won, he has multiple wins at 12 of them.
  • All-Time JGR Wins Leader: With his Brickyard 400 win in July 2016, Busch passed Tony Stewart for most all-time Cup Series wins for JGR. Busch now has 39 wins for JGR to Stewart’s 33 following his most recent Martinsville win last fall.
  • 183 and Counting: Busch enters Atlanta with 183 career wins among NASCAR’s top three divisions – Cup (43), Xfinity (91) and Truck (49) following his Cup Series win at Martinsville last fall.

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

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