KyBu: Dover Will Scare You The First Time

Kyle Busch

 As the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Dover (Del.) International Speedway for Sunday’s fourth playoff race and first of the Round of 12, the goal for the weekend is to be able to hang with Miles following Sunday’s Gander Outdoors 400.

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), did just that following the October Dover race one year ago, bringing home his third career Cup Series victory at the track in dramatic fashion. He caught Chase Elliott in the final laps, made the pass for the win, and scored another “Miles the Monster” trophy given to each winner at the challenging concrete mile oval.

The win was his second in a row and the first time Busch had brought home a fall win at Dover. The 2015 Cup Series champion and his Interstate Batteries team have been looking forward to the second round of this year’s playoffs for a few weeks after they won at Richmond (Va.) Raceway Sept. 22 to automatically qualify for the Round of 12. Busch sits atop the playoff standings that were newly reset after Sunday’s concluding race of the Round of 16.

The familiar green-and-white-striped Interstate Batteries colors will return this weekend for the sixth and final time of the 2018 season. It continues an impressive run by JGR’s founding sponsor in the 27th consecutive year Interstate has been a primary sponsor on the No. 18 car owned by three-time Super Bowl-winning coach Joe Gibbs.

In addition to his three career wins at Dover, Busch and his Interstate Batteries team have some impressive stats there to bolster their confidence this weekend. Along with the wins in NASCAR’s top series, Busch has scored five NASCAR Xfinity Series wins and four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins at Dover. Busch has led 1,188 laps in his previous 27 Cup Series starts at Dover, an average of 44 per race. Busch has also scored 12 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s at the track known as the “Monster Mile.”

So, as the Interstate Batteries team heads to Dover, Busch will have one goal for the weekend. It’s not much different than it is for any other race as he looks to “hang with Miles” in victory lane following Sunday afternoon’s 400-miler on the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware’s capital city for an automatic bid into the playoffs’ Round of 8.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 
What has it meant to have stability in your career from year to year?


“It’s obviously a really, really good thing – myself and Coach Gibbs (team owner), we’ve developed a really good relationship over the course of those years and we’ve learned about each other and what our quirks are and things like that. You’ve got great sponsors like Interstate Batteries, who have been with the team since the start of JGR. That’s just (the kind of) consistency you rarely see anymore and something to be proud of. Obviously also for myself, being with the same team, I’ve had a lot of the same guys on my team and around me for my entire time of being at the 18 car, and having Adam Stevens (crew chief) come on board just three years ago, it’s kind of a newer relationship in the driver-crew chief realm, but we’ve certainly really stuck together well and worked well together.”


Is it all about winning the opening race in the playoff rounds?


“You strive to go out there and win every single time you’re on the racetrack but, if you put yourself in a bad spot or try or push too hard or something like that and you get yourself out of whack and crashed or something like that, obviously that’s going to be way worse for yourself. So you have to be mindful of those situations and you have to pick and choose your battles. If we are in a position to try and win one on Sunday with our Interstate Batteries Toyota, we’ll try and take advantage of it, for sure.”


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 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 Interstate Batteries 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.”

Interstate Batteries Racing

Race 30 of 36 – Gander Outdoors 400 –  Dover

Car No.: 18 – Interstate Batteries 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

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: Bailey Walker

Hometown: Harrisburg, 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 Gander Outdoors 400 will mark Kyle Busch’s 492nd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 28th NASCAR Cup Series start at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
  • Busch has career totals of 50 wins, 30 poles, 179 top-five finishes, 264 top-10s and 15,590 laps led in 491 career Cup Series racesHis most recent Cup Series win came two weekends ago at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. Busch’s most recent pole, the 30th of his career, came at the 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May.
  • Busch has three wins, 12 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s and has led a total of 1,188 laps in 27 career Cup Series starts at Dover. Busch’s average Dover finish is15.0.
  • The Round of 12: Busch’s win two weeks ago at Richmond (Va.) Raceway automatically advanced him into the playoffs’ Round of 12, which starts this weekend at Dover as Busch sits atop the playoff standings.
  • Three-Peat: Busch’s consecutive wins at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and Richmond in April marked only the 25th time in NASCAR’s modern era (1972 to present) that a driver won three consecutive races. Nine of the 23 previous times a driver won three consecutive races in a season, that driver has gone on to win the championship. Before 2018, Busch was the most recent driver to win three in a row – in 2015, when he went on to score his first and, so far, only championship. Fellow Championship contender Kevin Harvick accomplished the feat earlier this season prior to Busch’s hot streak in late spring. Brad Keselowski joined the group with wins at the recent events Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This marks the first time in NASCAR history that three different drivers have won three consecutive races in the same season.
  • 15,000 Plus: With his impressive 377 of 400 laps led in the Coca-Cola 600 in May, Busch topped the 15,000-laps-led mark in NASCAR’s top series and became just the 10th driver in NASCAR history to do so.
  • 50 Career Cup Series Wins: With his Cup Series win at Richmond, the 50th points-paying win of his career, Busch is now tied for 11th on the all-time wins list with NASCAR Hall of Famers Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson. Next up for Busch on the all-time win list is Lee Petty, who had 54 wins during his Hall of Fame career. With his 40th Cup Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway last August, Busch became the fourth-youngest driver to reach 40 Cup Series wins at 32 years, 109 days, behind only Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon and Herb Thomas.
  • All 23: With his win at Charlotte in May, Busch has now won a Cup Series race at all 23 tracks at which the series competes, becoming the first driver in the modern era to win at every track where he has made at least one start. Of the 23 different tracks where Busch has won, he has multiple wins at 12 of them. While Busch won for the first time in a points-paying event on the 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte in May, this will be his first opportunity to notch a win at the facility’s roval layout.
  • 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 45 wins for JGR to Stewart’s 33 following his most recent win at Pocono, along with tying Stewart’s Cup Series career win total.
  • 193 and Counting: Busch enters Dover with 193 career wins among NASCAR’s top three divisions – Cup (50), Xfinity (92) and Truck (51) – following his Cup Series win two weeks ago at Richmond.


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