PEDIGREE Dover Double

HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (May 2, 2018) – Fans attending this weekend’s NASCAR races at Dover (Del.) International Speedway will be seeing double when it comes to the PEDIGREE® brand colors.

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 PEDIGREE® Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), will sport the familiar yellow scheme for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA 400 Drive for Autism.

And the yellow PEDIGREE® scheme will double its efforts on the concrete mile oval as the brand is also backing talented up-and-coming driver Todd Gilliland in Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). The 17-year old Gilliland, son of former PEDIGREE® driver David Gilliland, is seeking his first series win at the site of his Truck Series debut last June. 

Gilliland has much in common with his Truck Series team owner Busch, as not only have the two found victory lane on a regular basis, they are also dog enthusiasts, which makes the fit for the PEDIGREE® brand with KBM and Gilliland that much more special. Gilliland, making just his eighth career Truck Series start, and Busch will no doubt be contenders to win the Truck and Cup Series races this weekend at Dover.

Both Busch and Gilliland enter Dover carrying the banner for the PEDIGREE® brand’s FEED THE GOOD™ campaign, which launched in 2015 and is a global campaign dedicated to the idea that dogs and humans bring out the good in each other. The message behind the global FEED THE GOOD™ campaign is that dogs make people better and that all dogs deserve a loving, forever home.

With just seven career Truck Series starts heading to his second series start at Dover, Gilliland will no doubt lean on the experience of Busch, who has had plenty of success there over the years in all three of NASCAR’s touring series. Busch and his PEDIGREE® team have a strong resume at the track affectionately known as the “Monster Mile.” In fact, Busch is the most recent Cup Series winner at Dover as he captured the win last October with a dramatic, late-race pass of Chase Elliott to score his third series win there.

Along with those three wins in NASCR’s top series, Busch has captured five NASCAR Xfinity Series wins and four Truck Series wins at Dover. Busch has led 1,188 laps in his previous 26 Cup Series starts there, an average of almost 45.7 per race. 

So, as Busch and his PEDIGREE® team prepare for battle, it’s with the confidence he knows how to get the job done at Dover. Even better, should the young Gilliland start off the weekend on the right foot Friday, the stage would be set for the PEDIGREE® driver duo to enjoy a fun “Double Weekend for the Dogs” in victory lane on the Delmarva Peninsula.

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 PEDIGREE Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 

What are the team’s goals this weekend at Dover?

“We just need keep executing as a team like we’ve been doing pretty much every week. Dover has been a good place for me. We ran up front all day there last fall and ended up pulling out the win. I know Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and all the PEDIGREE® guys are working hard to have a good car off the truck and get us off to a strong start this weekend. And, hopefully, we can finish off a strong run there this time and keep our early season momentum going. We have a big weekend with the first race for Todd (Gilliland) in the PEDIGREE® Truck Friday night, so we’re hoping both of us can have some success this weekend and bring home a couple of wins for PEDIGREE®.” 

What does it take to be successful at Dover? 

“Dover, being a concrete track, is challenging. They’re all a challenge, but Dover is especially so just because of the way you have to run around that place. The way tires sometimes wear out. The way the rubber gets put down there. You’ve got to be fast through the corner. Two-thirds of your lap time is through the turns rather than down the straightaway, so you definitely have to make sure you have a good-handling racecar – one that’s good in the beginning of the run on low air pressures and one that’s good at the end of the run on high air pressures, and even through traffic, too. Some of the most challenging times are when you’re trying to get through traffic with guys.”

Do you enjoy racing at Dover?

“It’s definitely a fast racetrack. It’s a fun racetrack, too. It makes it interesting when you get to traffic, when you have to pass guys, when you’re kind of falling down into the hole and jumping back up out of the hole to the straightaways. It’s a good place to race. It’s a competitive racetrack and, when the rubber gets laid down, it definitely changes the whole atmosphere and the whole way you run around that place.”

Can you describe the differences between Dover and Bristol? While they are both concrete surfaces, how are they different?

“Definitely Dover is an interesting track, it’s definitely fun and challenging. You should ask Jimmie Johnson about how to get around there, he’s pretty good there I heard. We’ve won there a couple times so it’s nice to have a little collection of monster trophies going. Between Bristol and between Dover, there are no similarities between race tracks, it’s so hard with Charlotte, Atlanta and Texas – you think that by looking at them from above they look the same and they’re nothing close. Bristol and Dover being concrete, they’re both fast around the bottom of the race track. When Bristol got the grind, it then became fast around the top and it kind of changed things. Dover, it’s still always been around the bottom and it kind of changes throughout the race too as the rubber goes down there and the way that place has worn over the years, it’s definitely got a lot bumpier. You can feel Bristol getting to that fashion too. A lot of guys commenting on just how bumpy this time at Bristol was and how the cars and the tires were really bouncing on the race track. You get that at Dover for sure, I think Dover is maybe worse or feels worse because the amount of speed that you’re carrying there that you feel all that stuff a lot more.”

You have three Cup Series wins and a competitive history at Dover. What is your outlook with your history there? 

“I love that place. It’s fun to race there and it’s a place I’m looking forward to going to with our PEDIGREE® Camry. I went there when I was 18 to race in the Xfinity Series for my first time. It will scare you the first time you race there. You carry so much speed at that racetrack and, for it to be a mile in length and for it to be concrete – concrete surfaces that we race on, anyway – are a little bit slick. It’s definitely a roller-coaster ride and you need to treat it like it’s fun and not to be scared of the place, I think, because you can get so much out of that place. There are two ways about it – you can probably be really, really good there, or really, really bad there. Some days are going to be better than others, obviously, with how you can get your car set up compared to the competition.”

Notes of Interest:

  • The AAA 400 Drive For Autism will mark Kyle Busch’s 473rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 27th NASCAR Cup Series start at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
  • Busch has career totals of 46 wins, 29 poles, 168 top-five finishes, 249 top-10s and 14,879 laps led in 472 career Cup Series racesHis most recent Cup Series win came two weekends ago at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, the third of  three consecutive race wins. Busch’s most recent pole, the 29th of his career, came three weekends ago at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
  • Busch has three wins, 12 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s and has led a total of 1,188 laps in 26 career Cup Series starts at Dover. Busch’s average Dover finish is 14.2.  
  • Only 121 short of 15,000: Busch is 121 laps shy of the 15,000-laps-led mark in NASCAR’s top series.