Production Alliance Group 300 (Round 5 of 33)
Date: March 16, 2019
Location: Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California
Layout: 2-mile oval
Kyle Busch Notes of Interest
● This weekend’s Production Alliance Group 300 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, is the fifth event of the 33-race NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule and the third with Kyle Busch behind the wheel of the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR).
● In 18 career Xfinity Series starts at Auto Club Speedway, Busch has earned six wins, 12 top-fives, 15 top-10s and three poles. He has also completed 2,692 of the 2,704 laps available (99.6 percent). His most recent win at the 2-mile track was the Royal Purple 300 on March 23, 2013. Busch started on the pole and led 92 laps to secure his third win of an eventual 12-win season.
● Busch is the winningest Xfinity Series driver at Auto Club Speedway with six victories, three of which have been won from the pole. He is also tied with Kevin Harvick for the most Xfinity Series top-10s at Fontana.
● Busch is two-for-two in the iK9 Toyota Supra this season after a dominating performance in last Saturday’s iK9 Service Dog 200 at ISM Raceway near Phoenix. He started from the third position and ran in the top-three for all but eight laps of the 200-lap event. Busch led four times for a race-high 116 laps to clinch JGR’s third Xfinity Series win of the year.
● Busch followed-up last Saturday’s Xfinity Series victory with a win in the TicketGuardian 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday and is now just one win away from reaching 200 wins across the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series. His 199 total wins in NASCAR’s top-three series include 52 in Cup, 94 in Xfinity and 53 in Trucks.
● Busch is the all-time leader in Xfinity Series victories. His 94 career wins are 45 more than next-best Mark Martin (49 wins). Busch broke Martin’s record on Aug. 26, 2011 when he won the Food City 250 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
● Busch made his Xfinity Series debut on May 24, 2003 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. He started fifth and finished second in the Carquest Auto Parts 300. Busch’s first Xfinity Series win came on May 14, 2004 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway in the Funai 250.
● The 2019 season marks Busch’s 17th year of Xfinity Series competition. In addition to his 94 wins, he earned the 2009 Xfinity Series championship, has scored 65 poles, logged 213 top-fives and 251 top-10s, and has led a total of 19,168 laps in 347 career starts.
Kyle Busch, Driver of the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra Auto Club Speedway is another track where you’ve had a lot of success, but it’s been a few years since you last visited victory lane in Fontana. Is the momentum from Las Vegas and Phoenix enough to carry the iK9 Toyota Supra to a third-consecutive win?
“Anytime we show up at the track we have a pretty strong chance to win. The Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity Series program has been very impressive for the last few years and I know what these guys are capable of putting together each week. At a track like Auto Club – that’s worn and has seen a lot of racing – sometimes we’re just racing the track and having to make sure we’re set up to be there at the end. We came close to a win back in 2016. We led a lot of laps and were having a good day and a blown tire at the end cost us a win. In 2017, we just never quite got the setup right for a long run. But we do have a lot of momentum coming out of Phoenix. Ben (Beshore, crew chief) and the iK9 team have given me fast Toyota Supras so far, and I’m really looking forward to getting back to work with them this week.”
Ben Beshore, Crew Chief of the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Team The No. 18 iK9 team has set the standard in the Xfinity Series so far this season. What is it like to be the crew chief for a team that is expected to win every race?
“It’s obviously high expectations. Anything less than wins is a pretty big disappointment, to be honest with you. Right now, with Kyle in the car, he expects to go out there and just stomp everybody. We have to be on our game and give him an iK9 Toyota Supra capable of doing that and not make any mistakes or let the team beat itself, and just let Kyle go out there and do what he’s best at. But we have to approach each race the same no matter which driver we’re working with. The expectations are the same across the board. We’re here to win.”
Kyle Busch Auto Club Xfinity Series Performance Profile
No. 18 iK9 Team Roster
Primary Team Members:
Driver: Kyle Busch
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
Crew Chief: Ben Beshore
Hometown: York, Pennsylvania
Car Chief: Chris Meyers
Hometown: Olney, Maryland
Lead Engineer: Dustin Zacharyasz
Hometown: Berea, Ohio
Engine Tuner: Jesse Warren
Hometown: Mentor, Ohio
Spotter: Rick Carelli
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
Front Tire Changer: Dustin Necaise
Hometown: Gulfport, Mississippi
Rear Tire Changer: Mike Hicks
Hometown: Providence, Rhode Island
Tire Carrier: Kevin Harris
Hometown: Winter Springs, Colorado
Gas Man: Kenneth Purcell
Hometown: Savannah, Georgia
Jackman: Ernie Pierce
Hometown: San Diego, California
Road Crew Members:
Hometown: Yankton, South Dakota
Mechanic: Kevin Gladman
Hometown: Cadiz, Ohio
Mechanic: John Egbert
Hometown: Akron, Ohio
Tire Specialist: John Lanham
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
● iK9 is a global leader in canine security services and training. The company offers comprehensive canine solutions with professional handler education for celebrities, veterans, government agencies and military. iK9’s primary focus is furnishing dogs to special operations units and providing top-tier training, but iK9-trained dogs are most often seen with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and police departments collectively making the country safe and secure. Guided by a commitment to deliver highly disciplined and well-bred dogs to customers around the world, iK9 employs industry-intelligent expertise utilizing the latest in canine science and technology. With an expansive network of canine professionals and enthusiasts, iK9 clients are empowered with the skills and support necessary to utilize their highly-specialized working dogs with the utmost confidence.
● 1st Foundation is a 100-percent volunteer organization whose board members cover administrative costs, allowing every dollar donated to be utilized for its core mission – providing assistance to those arriving first on the scene in foreign and domestic conflict. Working with Special Operations Forces and Law Enforcement Operations, the 1st Foundation administers grants for continuing education, specialized equipment, and training for those in need. The non-profit also helps with medical bills and access to PTSD programs, as well as college scholarships to those operators and their families in need of assistance through their Gold Star Family Programs. The 1st Foundation also ensures our K9 heroes are rewarded for their service and dedication by placing retired military dogs requiring rehabilitation with veterans in need of companionship, helping both reacclimate to civilian life. The 1st Foundation also supplies service dogs to veterans in need, all of which are trained to Veteran Affairs standards. Lastly, 1st Foundation provides K9s to police departments, ultimately making our communities a safer place. To assist the cause of 1st Foundation, please visit 1stfoundation.com/donate. Residents of Alabama can go a step further by purchasing a specialized 1st Foundation license plate for their personal vehicles through the Alabama Department of Revenue’s website.
● Xtreme Concepts Inc., is a worldwide leader in providing turnkey security solutions, training and technology integration to U.S. government, military and commercial clients on a global scale. Xtreme Concepts’ mission is to provide elite military units with a hyper-realistic environment, allowing them to train to their full mission profile with a facility that is able to replicate an unmatched variety of real-world scenarios. This Alabama-based facility is a world-class training site spanning more than 1,500 acres with 3 million square-feet of indoor training space, 31 buildings, 3.5 miles of internal roadways, and more areas equipped for training. Experience is the hallmark and strength of Xtreme Concepts, best exemplified by its motto: “Who we are, Where we’ve been and What we’ve done.” With access to the National Mission Force (NMF) and the Special Missions Units (SMU) of the U.S. military, Xtreme Concepts is the benchmark in the multi-faceted security arena. Xtreme Concepts’ stable of experts has served honorably with these elite units for more than a decade, and because its staff maintains deep ties to the NMF and SMU, clients benefit from immediate access to Xtreme Concepts’ collective experience.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!