Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kyle Busch Auto Club 400 Preview: Looking To Keep Momentum Going

Busch swept both races last week at Bristol
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (March 22, 2011) – Following his weekend sweep of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series races at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, there’s no driver more “white-hot” than Kyle Busch.

As the Sprint Cup Series heads back to the West Coast for round five of the season, Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), looks to keep his hot streak going in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

The talented 25-year-old will debut the Sprint Cup version of Interstate Batteries’ new “white hot” paint scheme to help celebrate the company’s 20-year partnership with JGR.

In the summer of 1991, Joe Gibbs met with Miller in Dallas and pitched him on having Interstate Batteries be the first-ever sponsor for JGR, despite the fact he had no racecars, engines, employees or even a building. Miller was sold on the idea immediately and a highly successful relationship was born. Twenty years later, Interstate Batteries-sponsored JGR cars have now won the 1993 Daytona 500 (Dale Jarrett), the 2000 Brickyard 400 (Bobby Labonte), the 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship (Labonte) and 24 Sprint Cup races (21 by Labonte, two by Jarrett, one by Busch).

BUSCH ON WHETHER HE ENJOYS RACING AT CALIFORNIA: “I like California. It’s fun. It’s really wide and it’s kind of flatter than Michigan, so it’s a little harder to kind of get a hold of, but you can really spread out. We’ve been seeing a lot of guys all the way down at the white line. We saw guys all the way up at the wall. It always seems to be a really good race, there. It’s a really fun racetrack. It’s widened out and it’s become where you can race all over it and, with the race being as long as it is, you need to take a lot of time working through traffic and being able to have a good car and all that. It’s the same thing every week. California is just another one of those racetracks that seems to suit Jimmie (Johnson) really, really well. He’s been in contention to win the past seven races there, I think, and he’s probably won four of them. That’s another place we know he’ll be fast. Again, we just hope for a solid day and that our efforts will put us in a good enough position. And if they don’t, then we weren’t good enough.”

BUSCH ON HOW CALIFORNIA HAS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS: “That place is tough. It’s really a hard racetrack to get ahold of, now, especially when it’s hot and the sun is out. There are two completely different types of racing when you run the top versus the bottom groove. You can run from the top to the bottom, but when you run the bottom, you really feel like you’re puttering around the racetrack. You feel like you aren’t making up any time on the bottom. But when you are running the top groove, you feel like you’re getting the job done. The guys who run the bottom have a little bit more patience and handle it better than the guys who are on the gas on top.”

Paint scheme for this weeks race at Fontana
BUSCH ON THE KEY TO WINNING A CHAMPIONSHIP MAYBE BIT A BIT MORE SAVVY LIKE HE'S SHOWN IN THE FIRST FOUR RACES: “I guess so. We need to keep it going all year long. That’s the most important thing. When it gets hot and slick in the summertime, you get more frustrated that you’re not going forward or you’re kind of stuck running 15th somewhere. Those are the days that savvy really needs to show versus the days you’re running up front, top-five. It’s a little easier. We just keep working on the things that we can do, what we can do better to improve our program and to make it to where we can run competitive top-fives week in and week out. Be a championship contender in order to bring home not only the hardware but the points that will get us into the Chase, then the final stretch to Homestead.”

BUSCH CHASSIS CHOICE: Chassis No. 289 - This is a brand new chassis that will see its first racing action in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

Notes of Interest:
· The Auto Club 400 will mark Busch’s 227th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 14th Sprint Cup start at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
· Busch has career totals of 20 wins, seven poles, 68 top-fives, 106 top-10s and 5,851 laps led in 226 career Sprint Cup races.
His most recent Sprint Cup win came last weekend at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. His last pole came 27 races ago at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
· Busch has one win, four top-fives, eight top-10s and has led a total of 244 laps in his 13 career Sprint Cup starts at Fontana. His average Fontana finish is a solid 12.7.
· In addition to his 244 Sprint Cup laps led at Fontana, Busch has also led 464 laps in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the 2-mile oval. Additionally, Busch is now just 500 laps shy of the 20,000 career laps-led mark across NASCAR’s top three series. He currently sits at 19,500 career laps led among all three series after leading 421 combined laps at Bristol last weekend.
· Streaking: With the win at Bristol, Busch has now won at least one Sprint Cup race for seven consecutive seasons (2005-2011). This is the Las Vegas native’s seventh year as a full-time Sprint Cup competitor.
· Career Sprint Cup-Nationwide Doubles: With the weekend double at Bristol, Busch has now won both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races on the same weekend on five different occasions. His first Nationwide-Sprint Cup sweep came in July 2008 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Next, Busch swept the weekend races in May 2009 at Richmond, with the Sprint Cup win coming on his 24th birthday. Busch then doubled up in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series events at Dover (Del.) International Speedway last May. While not a weekend sweep, Busch also became the only driver to win two races in NASCAR’s top three series in one day when he won both the Truck and Nationwide Series events at Fontana in February 2009. Additionally, Busch became the first driver in NASCAR history to win in NASCAR’s top three touring series in one weekend last August at Bristol. Busch is also entered in Saturday’s Nationwide Series event at Fontana.
· Speaking of Triples: Before finally completing his historic trifecta at Bristol in August 2010, Busch won two out of the three weekend NASCAR races five times in his career. The first came at Phoenix International Raceway in the fall of 2007 (first in Camping World Truck, first in Nationwide, eighth in Sprint Cup), followed by the 2008 spring weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway (first in Camping World Truck, 24th in Nationwide, first in Sprint Cup), February 2009 at Fontana (first in Camping World Truck, first in Nationwide, eighth in Sprint Cup), August 2009 at Bristol (first in Camping World Truck, 28th in
Nationwide, first in Sprint Cup), and November 2009 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (first in Camping World Truck, first in Nationwide, 11th in Sprint Cup). So far in 2011, Busch came close to accomplishing another triple when he won the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series races last month at Phoenix, then fell just short of winning Sunday’s Sprint cup event, having to settle for a solid second-place finish.
· Excuse me Sir, can I see your ID?: In 2001, at age 16, Busch was set to make his first Camping World Truck Series start at Fontana, but NASCAR officials were forced to pull him from the event because of a conflict between his age and the weekend’s open-wheel race that featured cigarette sponsorship. The unexpected ruling by NASCAR that prompted age limitations for competitors sidelined Busch from NASCAR competition until his 18th birthday.
· It’s a new track record: Busch began the 2005 season with a record-setting pole run at Auto Club Speedway in just his eighth career Sprint Cup start. Busch, who was 19 years, 317 days old, broke the record previously held by Donald Thomas, who was 20 years, 129 days old when he won the pole at Lakewood (Ga.) Speedway on Nov. 16, 1952. Thomas went on to win that race and remained the youngest race winner in Sprint Cup history until Busch won at Auto Club Speedway on Sept. 4, 2005. Busch bested
Thomas’ win record by a mere four days.
· In addition to his one Sprint Cup win at Fontana, Busch also has four Nationwide Series wins (October 2008, February 2009, February 2010, and October 2010) at the 2-mile oval.
· Numbers Game: After winning both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide races last weekend at Bristol, Busch sits at 90 career wins among NASCAR’s top three divisions – Sprint Cup (20), Nationwide (45) and Truck (25). Busch sits alone in eighth place on the all-time NASCAR win list.
· 20 Times Three: Since joining JGR and Toyota at the start of 2008, Busch notched 21 overall wins in 2008, 20 in 2009, and reached a career-high 24 victories in 2010. He is the only driver in NASCAR history to have three consecutive 20-plus-win seasons across NASCAR’s top three divisions. Busch has won four of the 11 races contested this season among NASCAR’s top three series.
· Good Company: With his 20th career Sprint Cup win at Bristol, Busch climbed to 33rd on the all-time Sprint Cup wins list, tying Speedy Thompson.
· Toyota Trophies: The 25-year-old has earned 69 overall wins driving Toyota equipment in NASCAR’s top three series.
· ‘White Hot’: Interstate Batteries’ will sport its new “white hot” paint scheme at Fontana this weekend. The Toyota Camry is primarily white with green and black accents, including a distinctive lightning bolt design on the sides. But, perhaps the most talked-about aspect of the new livery is the front of the Camry, which features a stunning illustration of an “Outrageously Dependable” green-top Interstate Battery seemingly bursting out of the hood.

- True Speed Communication for Joe Gibbs Racing/Mars, Inc., Press Release

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