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May 05
2017

Skittles America Mix Racing: Kyle Busch Talladega Cup Series Advance and Team Re

Posted by BryanL     0 Comment(s)    Add a Comment  comment-icon.png
May 5, 2017

HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (May 3, 2017) – When it comes to the patriotism of sports fans, the passion that NASCAR fans have for their country is difficult to beat.


Fittingly, as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to a venue this weekend that’s unmistakably American – Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Skittles America Mix Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), will sport a special scheme that will proudly show off the Red, White, and Blue.

 

Busch’s No. 18 racecar will feature a special Skittles America Mix scheme in Sunday’s Cup Series Geico 500. The Skittles America Mix is a must-have for summer gatherings, road trips and, of course, a great snack while watching a NASCAR Cup Series race either in-person or on television. Every bag contains red, white and blue Skittles with fruit flavors that include strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, wild berry and “yumberry” – the first white fruit-flavored Skittles candy – and are available from April-August this year.

 

Busch has had up-and-down luck at the mammoth, 2.66-mile Talladega oval, winning just once in 23 career starts at the track. His lone win came in April 2008, and he has accumulated 10 other top-15 finishes at the track but also exited four outings early due to accidents.

 

The 2015 Cup Series champion celebrated his 32nd birthday this past Tuesday and would like nothing more than to continue the celebration in victory lane Sunday afternoon at Talladega with his second top-series win there. While Busch’s birthday isn’t on race day this year, he does hold the distinction of being only the second driver in Cup Series history to celebrate a victory on his birthday with a win at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on May 2, 2009. It was a feat first accomplished by Cale Yarborough – twice. Yarborough won on his March 27 birthday at North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway in 1977 and at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1983. Since then, Busch’s JGR teammate Matt Kenseth equaled the feat as he won in 2013 on his March 10 birthday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

So as Busch heads back to Talladega this weekend, he hopes the Skittles America Mix Red, White, and Blue colors bring him some added luck, not to mention a great way to keep the birthday celebration going in a colorful way on Sunday afternoon.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Skittles Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 

What is a typical plan for the entire race weekend once you get to Talladega?

 

“It’s different for everybody but, for us, we just kind of go out there and definitely get in the first pack in practice because the first pack is always the biggest, so you have to be ready when practice first starts. You just kind of feel out your car and see what it’s doing. Is it into the racetrack?  Is it on top of the racetrack? Are you sliding around too much? If we have some things we wanted to continue to try to feel out and get better with, we sometimes run some of the second session where other guys feel like they’re good in the first one and just quit. You definitely don’t want to take a chance on wrecking your car, and you don’t want to be put in a weird spot out there and have somebody get together in front of you and you drive into it and crash a racecar. You want to get through practice by checking to see what you have but not getting it torn up, either. Your starting position doesn’t mean a whole lot so, wherever you start, you just want to make sure your racecar checks out in practice and you’re ready to race 500 miles and hope we can get our Skittles America Mix Camry to victory lane. That’s what it’s all about.”

 

Are superspeedways more mentally draining than other racetracks?

 

“At Talladega, the physical demand isn’t that big of deal. You can run around there all day long and not break a sweat, really. Once you get down into the nitty gritty of the race and try to play the chess game at the end of the race, you’ve got to really pick and choose your spots and think all the time if you go here and team up with this guy. It really wears on you a little bit, mentally. I would say Talladega is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical, while most other non-restrictor-plate races are 80 percent physical and 20 percent mental. We’re hoping to be in position with our Skittles America Mix Camry Sunday to give it another shot at the win.”

 

Is it any more special to get a win on your birthday or, in this case, your birthday week like this one at Talladega?

 

“I think anyone who knows me or has followed me knows that it doesn’t matter if it’s my birthday or whatever it is. I love to win and love to be able to add to the trophy case. That’s what we do, what it’s all about, and the focus each week. I think you do learn over the years that you can’t win them all, but that sure doesn’t stop us from trying. Winning is huge for our sponsors, too. It’s what drives all of us to get better each week. We have Skittles on the car this week – one of my favorites. You really have to be in the right place at the right time at Talladega so, hopefully for all of us, we are there when it counts on Sunday.”

 

Is it an advantage being a former winner at Talladega?

 

“It doesn’t matter at all. It’s such a crapshoot there in the last 20, 30 or 40 laps that you never really know who is going to win, what’s going to happen and where the wreck is going to come from.”

 

What is the key to pulling off a victory at Talladega?

 

“The key there is to somehow stay out of trouble. You stay where the pack is, generally, and we get up single file on the wall at times until it’s time to go, and you can pretty much run wide open every single lap. Everyone can run up on top of each other. When you get single file at the bottom, sometimes it’s hard to get a lane on the outside with enough good cars to get something going. It can be frustrating at times because of that. It also seems to still put on a good race each time we go there. If you can be a contender and stay in line on the bottom, you can make it a pretty easy and safe race. Normally, guys are not content doing that, so that’s when it starts to get crazy.” 

Skittles America Mix Racing

Race 10 of 36 – Geico 500 – Talladega

Car No.: 18 – Skittles America Mix 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 [email protected]).   

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 Geico 500 will mark Kyle Busch’s 436th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 24th NASCAR Cup Series start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
  • Busch has career totals of 38 wins, 19 poles, 149 top-five finishes, 222 top-10s and 12,769 laps led in 435 career Cup Series racesHis 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 one win, five top-five finishes and six top-10s and has led a total of 181 laps in 23 career Cup Series starts at Talladega. Busch’s average Talladega finish is 21.3.  
  • 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 Talladega with 170 career wins among NASCAR’s top three divisions – Cup (38), Xfinity (87) and Truck (46) following his NASCAR Xfinity Series win earlier this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Category: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series   Tag: Skittles America Mix Racing: Kyle Busch Talladega Cup Series Advance and Team Report


 
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