The Numbers Keep Adding Up
HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (March 13, 2019) – The numbers keep adding up for Kyle Busch.
The driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is coming off a weekend sweep of the Cup Series and Xfinity Series races at ISM Raceway near Phoenix as the numbers tell the story of just how good he has been. But, at just 33-years of age, he has plenty of time to accomplish even more. Here’s just a small sampling of the numbers:
● 52: number of career Cup Series victories.
● 11: now 11th on the all-time Cup Series win list.
● 15: number of consecutive seasons Busch has won a race in NASCAR’s top series.
● 16,000: number of laps led in NASCAR’s top series – 16,077, to be exact.
● 3.0: average Cup Series finish so far this season – Busch is the only driver to finish in the top-10 in each of the first four races.
● 199: number of victories in NASCAR’s top three series.
Busch’s hot start to the season in all three of NASCAR’s national series has seen him not only take over the early lead in the Cup Series standings, but also notch two wins apiece in NASCAR Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck Series races as he has his sights on 200 overall wins, and likely many more.
With no signs of slowing down, the 2015 Cup Series champion heads to a venue this weekend where he got his first career Cup Series win in 2005 and has a strong record – Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, the site of Sunday’s Cup Series Auto Club 400. The Las Vegas native and his Interstate Batteries team will be shooting for his fourth career win at the track located approximately 50 miles east of Los Angeles this weekend.
Busch’s numbers game is also quite strong at Fontana. He is near the top of several statistical categories at the 2-mile oval behind only seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson. Busch’s average finish of 9.7 is second to Johnson’s 7.0. Busch’s 673 laps led ranks second to Johnson’s 880. Busch’s 3,582 laps spent running in the top-15 at Fontana is also second only to Johnson’s 3,988. Busch’s 963 quality passes at Fontana tops Johnson’s 912.
As he approaches a career milestone poised for much more, Busch will pilot the colors of Interstate Batteries at Fontana for the first of six Cup Series races this season. The founding partner of JGR, Interstate Batteries has been powering the championship-winning organization and is now in its impressive 28th year as the “Official Battery of Joe Gibbs Racing.”
After winning back-to-back races at Fontana in 2013 and 2014 – both in dramatic fashion – Busch is looking to add another win to his impressive record at the track. He scored his maiden victory there in September 2005 and has rattled off eight top-five finishes and 13 top-10s during his career. The 2015 Cup Series champion also has six Xfinity Series wins at Fontana – October 2008 and 2010, February 2009 and 2010, March 2011 and 2013 –which included a weekend Cup-Xfinity Series sweep in 2013. Busch added a solid third-place Cup Series run in last year’s trip to the facility located in the heart of Southern California’s Inland Empire.
So as Busch and the No. 18 Toyota team head back to Fontana to finish off the final race of the 2019 NASCAR Western Swing, they will look to bring home back-to-back Cup Series wins as the numbers just keep adding up. As Interstate Batteries says, Busch has been more than “Outrageously Dependable,” and that trend is expected to continue into this weekend and beyond.
KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:
How would you assess your chances of hitting career NASCAR win No. 200 at Auto Club Speedway?
“I’d assess it is pretty good, I guess. It would certainly be nice to get it done on the West Coast swing, but it’s not a necessity. It will happen when it happens and you can’t push too hard and do stupid things or make mistakes in order to think too much about that number. You just have to let the race kind of play out and let it come to you and we’ll see where we are at. Really looking forward to Fontana, it’s been a great place for me over the years and would love to get the Interstate Batteries Toyota back to victory lane there again no matter what number win it ends up being.”
With all the talk about 200 wins, are you just looking forward to hitting that mark?
“I think it’s a pretty cool accomplishment. There are so many different ways you can argue it or debate it or whatever and it has nothing to do with Richard (Petty), it’s solely a number. I think it’s an accomplishment of its own. With Richard’s accomplishment and what he’s been able to do and what he’s done for the sport, that’s huge. I feel as though I’ve been in this position to win as many races as I have due to a lot of great people and, being able to go out there and celebrate 200 wins, I don’t know that it will happen again, but if it does, that person should certainly cherish that moment.”
What’s next after you achieve 200 wins?
“I don’t know – 250, I guess – the race to 250. Certainly as I get older here, it’s going to start slowing down, and with the restrictions that I’m under, it already has slowed down. I would have been to 200 a hell of a long time ago if I could have run as many races as I wanted to in Truck and Xfinity and what-not. It’s about being able to win on Sundays and I feel like I’ve won a bunch of races on Sundays – I’ve got 52 of them and the race there is going to be the race to 100 on that side. I think that’s kind of what the next goal will be – to try to get 100 Cup wins.”
How has Auto Club Speedway changed over the last several years, going from a relatively new track to a place that has a lot more character and racing grooves?
“That place is tough. It’s really a hard racetrack to get ahold of, now, especially when it’s hot and the sun is out. There are two completely different types of racing when you run the top versus the bottom groove. You can run from the top to the bottom but, when you run the bottom, you really feel like you’re puttering around the racetrack. You feel like you aren’t making up any time on the bottom. But when you are running the top groove, you feel like you’re getting the job done. The guys who run the bottom have a little bit more patience and handle it better than the guys who are on the gas on top.”
What do you remember about that night in 2005 when you captured your first Cup Series win at Fontana?
“We ran in the top-five all day long but we really didn’t think we had a winning car. When we got the lead a few times throughout the race, we just pulled away and led by quite a bit. It was really cool to have a really dominant racecar. I remember having to drive the car really loose. That was the loosest I think I’ve ever driven a racecar that was still moving forward. It was crazy because I came over the radio and told the guys I couldn’t believe how loose I have to drive the car. But it was fast. All of my wins there have been a little different, but memorable at the same time.”
Notes of Interest:
- The Auto Club 400 will mark Kyle Busch’s 503rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 21st NASCAR Cup Series start at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.
- Busch has career totals of 52 wins, 31 poles, 186 top-five finishes, 273 top-10s and 16,077 laps led in 502 career Cup Series races. His most recent Cup Series win came last weekend at ISM Raceway near Phoenix. Busch’s most recent pole, the 30th of his career, came in October at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
- Busch has three wins, nine top-five finishes and 14 top-10s and has led a total of 673 laps in 20 career Cup Series starts at Fontana. Busch’s average Fontana finish is 10.4.
- 52 Career Cup Series Wins: With his Cup Series win at Phoenix last weekend, the 52nd points-paying win of his career, Busch sits in 11th all-time in Cup Series wins and inched a step closer to NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty’s 54 wins in NASCAR’s top series. With his 40th Cup Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August 2017, Busch became the fourth-youngest driver to reach 40 Cup Series wins at 32 years, 109 days, behind only Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon and Herb Thomas.
- 15 Seasons: Busch’s win at Phoenix last weekend means he has won at least one Cup Series race for 15 consecutive seasons. Busch will return to the site of his first career Cup Series victory this weekend in Fontana.