Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S/Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, checked off several major milestones during the 2018 NASCAR season, with another big one likely on the horizon for 2019.
Busch crossed the 50-win plateau in NASCAR’s top series in 2018, as he now sits at 51 Cup Series victories entering the 2019 season. Busch eclipsed the likes of NASCAR Hall of Famers Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, Bill Elliott, Buck Baker and Herb Thomas and future Hall of Famer Tony Stewart in wins during the 2018 season. While that’s an impressive list, Busch will be chasing an even bigger number as he sits just seven wins away from 200 overall wins among NASCAR’s top three series – Cup, Xfinity, and Gander Mountain Truck.
Coming off his fourth consecutive Championship Four appearance in 2018, the 2015 Cup Series champion has positioned himself as an annual threat to win the title.
As it relates to Busch’s next Cup Series title, it’s only a matter of time before his next one and how many he can rack up in his career. But no matter what happens, how Busch won his first title in 2015 will be difficult to top. After suffering what most considered a season-ending injury at the first race of the year, in February, Busch made a miraculous recovery getting back in the car months before the doctors thought he would. He pushed himself so that just two and a half short months later he could race the NASCAR All-Star race on May 16 and most importantly stand by his wife Samantha’s side for the birth of their son on May 18.
Busch and then rookie crew chief Adam Stevens along with the entire team turned around their season in late June by winning at Sonoma Raceway. The win started a remarkable streak of four wins in five weeks, including three in a row and the prestigious Brickyard 400. With the hot streak, Busch and company catapulted their way into the top-30, clinching a playoff berth at the Labor Day weekend race at Darlington Raceway.
Busch was granted a medical waiver by NASCAR that allowed him to be eligible for the playoffs despite missing the first 11 regular-season races – with the requirements that Busch had to win a regular-season race, and also had to finish the regular season in the top-30 in driver points.
Once in the playoffs, Busch and Stevens navigated the difficult 10-race, 16-driver playoffs with hard work and smart racing. After taking the lead with 10 laps to go at Homestead, Busch brought home his first Cup Series title by winning the series finale, and the championship, capping off a season to remember for Busch and fans around the world.
In addition to the full Cup Series schedule in 2019, Busch plans to run seven Xfinity Series races for JGR and continue his ownership of KBM with three full-time Truck Series teams, for which he will drive five times.