NOS Energy Drink Watkins Glen Preview
No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota News and Notes:
· Kyle Busch returns to Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) team: The No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota appears this week at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International with series veteran Kyle Busch, for series race 20 of 33 scheduled events. Busch will attempt 2017 XFINITY win number four on the 2.45-mile road course nestled amidst area “Finger Lakes.” The Saturday start will afford the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink team the chance to work towards their fourth series victory of the season and first team win for JGR’s XFINITY Series program at the NY road course.
· NOS Rowdy Colors Back: This week at Watkins Glen International, Busch will make his fourth 2017 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 Saturday for the Joe Gibbs Racing XFINITY Series program, what would be their fourth season win, third official victory on the books after a March race win at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway was encumbered from a penalty. The XFINITY Series start will be the driver’s eighth of 10 scheduled XFINITY Series races with partner NOS Energy Drink in the No. 18 Toyota across the 2017 season. Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on August 18 and Richmond (Va.) Raceway on September 8 remain on the agenda.
· 2016 Bad Luck at Glen: Last year at the 11-turn Watkins Glen International racetrack for the Zippo 200 race event Busch started from row three, a fifth-place qualifying run. While the JGR entry was the fastest competitor in the garage in race trim over two practice sessions, the team was confident their Saturday race run would be productive. Momentum continued on that path early in the race Saturday when the team watched Busch climb from fifth place to third place in the first two laps. Then an unusual part issue occurred on lap nine, when the front splitter dropped down and Busch, in second place, immediately felt the negative effects. The team conducted an initial repair on pit road, under yellow-flag conditions, and while Busch dropped to 30th place for longer time in the pit box. He regained positions at restart to 18th place, until the next event caution waved. Another pit road visit for a larger repair to brace the splitter for a better long-term result would put the team back into 31st place for the restart at lap 19. Further back in the field and in more traffic than the 11-turn course could allow for, Busch and his No. 18 Toyota Camry were unfortunately caught up in a nine-car pileup that damaged the team’s car too badly to repair. Then JGR crew chief Chris Gayle made the decision the team’s day was called early, and the team would be recorded with their first 2016 season “DNF” in the 37th position.
· 2017 Glen Goal: This week Busch aims to overcome that 2016 bad luck at the Glen and will make his 336th XFINITY Series start piloting the black and red NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry. He works to offer the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 team their fourth taste of XFINITY series victory in 2017 and Busch’s fourth win of the year. A victory would be the first for Joe Gibbs Racing’s XFINITY Series shop at Watkins Glen International.
· No stranger to victory lane at New York road course: Busch has captured two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins, in 2013 and in 2008 from the pole position, at Watkins Glen International. The series veteran did not race this event in 2015, due to injury, and with a part failure in 2016 and subsequent DNF, he’s still working towards that first checkered flag grab at the Glen in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, along with his crew chief Eric Phillips and the Joe Gibbs Racing XFINITY Series shop.
· Busch continues a 14-year streak of pole grabs: The champion continues a streak of pole wins that stems back to 2004, now numbering all-time high 62 first-place starts in the XFINITY Series.
· Joe Gibbs Racing in the XFINITY Series at Watkins Glen International: JGR has entered 33 races with no wins, 12 top-five finishes, 16 top-10 finishes, zero poles and 97 laps led.
· Crew Chief Eric Phillips’ Glen Track Experience: Phillips’ Glen races cover two events, no wins, no top-five finishes, one top-10 finish, no pole position and seven laps led with two former drivers Parker Kligerman and Daniel Suarez.
· 2017 Points: With their recent Iowa Speedway second-place result the No. 18 JGR team sits in sixth place in NASCAR’s Owner’s Championship point standings, 153 points behind the field.
· Glen Statistics: Busch holds the highest number of Miles Led in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at 10.86% and 518.51 miles. At the Glen Busch ranks #2 among competitors at the “Finger Lakes” track in Fastest Laps Run (9.7%, 72), Green Flag Passes (13.2%, 391) and Green Flag Speed (118.777mph with 13.2 avg fin).
· Race Info: Zippo 200 at The Glen, broadcast on NBCSN, August 5 at 2:00pm, covering 82 laps, 200.9 miles. The three stage formats will complete at laps 20, 40 and 82.
From the Cockpit:
How will you and this18 team prepare for this week’s XFINITY Series race, a track where you still seek your first win?
“It’s true for one reason or the other, this race has eluded us. I like the Glen and road-course racing we’ve just run into issues here and there. JGR on the Cup side has seen some success at Watkins Glen, although those are Cup Series notes, some of what we learned there will apply over to our NOS Energy Drink car. We’ll make the most of practice on Friday. You always want to cross another win off the list, and this one has been hanging out there. Maybe we can finally do it this week. I know Eric (Phillips, crew chief) and these guys will be gunning for it.”
From the Pit Box:
What do you look forward to most on Saturday, competing with Kyle Busch at the New York road-course event?
“Watkins Glen presents some unique challenges from our normal oval race weekends and with the weather forecast for rain on and off both days this is going to present even more challenges for the team. At the Glen you have seven unique corners with varying speeds in all of them and the bus stop to deal with. It’s always a compromise to get the car to be good in the higher speed corners and not give up too much in the lower speed corners. Brakes also play a big factor in your performance, you will need to have a well-balanced braking system without having rear wheel hop and it always seems to get you in trouble getting into turn one. We have worked hard to hopefully have nice consistent brakes for the race. The team is excited about going back to Watkins Glenn this weekend to kick off three road-course races in the next four weeks.”