I'll Have Another
HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (Feb. 27, 2018) – When I’ll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2012, he entered into an exclusive club of eligibility – the opportunity to become a Triple Crown winner. All that stood between him and immortality was the grueling Belmont Stakes, a race that bears the moniker “test of the champion.” Exaltation however, was not to be had for the strapping colt as he was scratched from the event just a few days before due to tendonitis, a condition that would ultimately end his racing career and send him into retirement.
Immortality and eternal glory aren’t on the line for Kyle Busch this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he will attempt his very own triple, but when it comes to Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR XFINITY series race, Busch would very much like to have another.
Driving the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), Busch will make his first start in XFINITY series competition in 2018. It’s one of three races in which he will compete during the forthcoming trip to his hometown, where he will attempt to complete NASCAR’s version of the triple by winning Friday’s Camping World Truck Series race, the XFINITY series event on Saturday, and the main event on Sunday – the NASCAR Cup series race.
For the second leg of this particular triple, Busch will sport the iconic colors of Interstate Batteries, the founding partner and “Official Battery of Joe Gibbs Racing.”
Since 1992, JGR’s first full season in NASCAR, Interstate Batteries has played an integral role in the organization’s development from start-up race team to championship powerhouse. The brand has been tied to Busch since his first season with JGR in 2008 – appearing as the primary sponsor on the No. 18 Toyota Camry for select NASCAR Cup Series events during the last 10 seasons.
Known for their “outrageously dependable batteries,” Interstate Batteries could provide the boost Busch needs to make another trip to victory lane in XFINITY competition at Las Vegas, a feat that has proven rather elusive for the 2009 series champ.
Busch will make his 339th start in XFINITY Series competition this weekend. It’s a series in which he boasts 91 career wins, 208 top-five finishes and 244 top-10s. He’s earned the top starting spot a total of 64 times and has led a whopping 18,549 laps. He literally owns just about every record that exists in the series. For all of that success, one of the tracks that’s historically proven troublesome for the 32-year-old is the one around which he grew up – the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway oval.
The Las Vegas-native has made a total of 13 starts in XFINITY Series competition at his hometown track. After several near misses, Busch finally broke through to pick up a series win at Las Vegas a mere two years ago. It was his 11th XFINITY Series start at the track and he scored the victory in style, winning from the pole. In addition to the win in 2016, Busch’s XFINITY Series record at Las Vegas features four top-fives and five top-10s, two poles – in 2016 and 2017 – and a total of 521 laps led.
Regardless of whether he’s in position to complete the triple, come Saturday Busch’s focus will be single-minded as he aims to have another.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
What are your expectations going into Saturday’s Las Vegas XFINITY Series race?
“Las Vegas is obviously a track I really look forward to. It would mean a lot to get a win in any series in Las Vegas. Vegas is a place that I enjoy coming to and trying to run well, and we’ve run well there the past a few times. In the XFINITY Series, a win there eluded me for a long time. We had accidents. We lost out on close races a lot of times, it seemed like. But we finally got the win there a couple of years ago, so that felt really good. I think we led almost 200 laps, so it was nice to have a dominant day and be able to finish the deal. I’m looking forward to getting back into the XFINITY Series there this weekend with Interstate Batteries back on board with us. Eric (Phillips, crew chief) and all the guys know Vegas means a lot, so I’m hoping we can get another win there for Norm Miller (Interstate Batteries Chairman) and all of the Interstate distributors and dealers there rooting us on this weekend.”
You’re racing out West for a couple of weeks with trips to California and Las Vegas. Do you enjoy traveling out there, and do you feel more comfortable going to that part of the country since it’s where you grew up?
“Everybody hates the time change. I use that to my advantage since I think I’m usually on West Coast time, anyway. I still haven’t gotten East Coast time down yet. It’s fun for me. It’s a cool atmosphere and the weather is great without the humidity. If it’s hot out, it’s nice and warm. And if it’s cold, it’s a crisp cold. It’s still home and I love being out West.”
Are you able to enjoy trips to your hometown?
“It’s fine going back there. There’s really not much family out there, anymore. It’s just family friends. There are a lot of friends you get to see and catch up with that you text back and forth with or talk back and forth with during the year, but you never get to see them. So that’s always cool to go out there to the race. You get to go to some of the restaurants that you liked there growing up, so that’s always cool. With running all three races, I won’t have as much time to do anything but race this weekend, but I particularly know my way around this city better than I do any other place, so it’s always nice to come back.”