NOS Energy Drink Rowdy Edition Toyota Camry Kentucky Preview
No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Rowdy Edition Toyota News and Notes:
· Defending Race Winner: Kyle Busch returns to the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) team and the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota this week at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Last year at this venue, Busch commanded the 1.5-mile “Bluegrass-State oval” by leading 185 of 201 laps and taking home the series victory from the pole-qualifying position.
· 2016 Kentucky race in the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Camry: Last year Busch entered this week sixteen of the 2016 season at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta on another Friday night, for the Alsco 300 race event. Busch and the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota team started from row one, a first-place qualifying run at 187.318 mph. The JGR entry was strong early, only dropping to second place a few times late in the race, when the car balance grew tight after restarts. With good pit stops and solid tire strategy from former JGR crew chief Chris Gayle, the victory came after one last restart battle in a late green-white-checkered start with teammate Erik Jones. The victory was Busch’s 81st series win at the time, in 320 NASCAR XFINITY starts and fifth win of 2016. It was pole-win number six and race win number seven overall for Gayle and the team members of the No. 18 Camry with Joe Gibbs Racing that year. In 2017 to date, the No. 18 team has earned one win and three pole-qualifying starts.
· NOS Rowdy Colors for Kentucky Start: This week at Kentucky Speedway, Busch will make his 333rd XFINITY Series start piloting custom drink colors in the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry featuring the NOS Rowdy Energy Drink flavor that the veteran driver created with longtime marketing partner NOS Energy Drink. Busch looks to achieve victory Friday night for the Joe Gibbs Racing XFINITY Series program, what would be their second season win, first official victory on the books after a March race win at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway was encumbered from a penalty. The XFINITY Series track start will be the driver’s fifth of 10 scheduled XFINITY Series races with partner NOS Energy Drink in the No. 18 Toyota across the 2017 season.
· Busch at Kentucky Speedway: In addition to the 2016 XFINITY Series victory, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) veteran is no stranger to victory lane at the 1.5-mile Kentucky track. He lays claim to two MENCS wins there in 2015 and 2011, another XFINITY Series win there in 2004 and two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins recorded in 2014 and 2011. XFINITY Series Loop Data Statistics at Kentucky over the last 10 races record Busch #1 in Highest # of Fastest Laps (308, 19.6%) and Highest # of Laps Led (693, 44.1%).
· Triple Duty: Busch will compete in all three of NASCAR’s top racing series this weekend at Kentucky Speedway, first taking the track with his Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 46 Banfield Animal Hospital Toyota Tundra Thursday night, competing next with the Joe Gibbs Racing XFINITY Series No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Rowdy Edition Toyota Camry Friday night and finishing off the weekend on Saturday evening with the Joe Gibbs Racing Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series No. 18 Snickers Toyota Camry.
· Joe Gibbs Racing at Kentucky Speedway: In 52 races JGR has recorded four wins (three with Joey Logano, one with Busch, ’16), 22 top-five finishes, 31 top-10 finishes, seven poles and 1,111 laps led at the Kentucky track.
· Crew Chief Eric Phillips’ Kentucky Speedway statistics: Phillips has competed at Kentucky in the crew chief role in the XFINITY Series across four races with JGR driver Daniel Suarez and earned one top-five finish, one top-10 finish and two laps led. In the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Phillips has managed 11 races on top of the pit box at Kentucky and earned six top-five finishes, eight top-10 finishes, one pole, 256 laps led and three wins – one with Dennis Setzer in 2005 and two wins with NOS Energy driver Busch in 2011 and 2014, from the pole.
· Race Info: NASCAR XFINITY Series at Kentucky Speedway, broadcast at 8:00pm EST live on NBCSN, covering 200 laps, 300 miles. Stages will complete at 45 laps, 90 laps and 200 laps
From the Cockpit, Driver Kyle Busch:
What are your expectations going into this week’s Kentucky night race and with a repaved surface?
“Kentucky is a track I can get around pretty good. They did add another layer of asphalt to the surface that we haven’t experienced yet. But I expect it to basically drive the same as last year, since no aging has happened yet. I’ll be on track in all three series, so there is plenty of time to check it out and hopefully get our NOS Rowdy Toyota Camry back into victory lane.”
From the Pit Box, Crew Chief Eric Phillips:
How will you prepare for the Kentucky Speedway XFINITY Series race Friday night with veteran driver Kyle Busch?
“The (No.) 18 team is excited about having Kyle back in our race car at Kentucky. We will have our work cut out for us this weekend, however, with the new pavement. It will be very important to qualify up front and try to keep our track position all night. I predict it will be hard to pass with this new track surface. The team has been working hard on another new racecar for us to fold into the mix, and we're very excited with the improvements we have made. With Kyle racing in all three series at Kentucky this week, I think it could be a big benefit for us on Friday night and again on Saturday for him in the Cup Series, having that extra track time with the Kentucky repave.”