HUNTERSVILLE, North Carolina (April 30, 2019) – One thing Kyle Busch has proven in his 15th season as a full-time driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is that he’s got the PEDIGREE® of a winner in NASCAR’s top series, having scored 54 victories and sitting tied for 10th on the all-time wins list with NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty.
Busch, driver of the No. 18 PEDIGREE® Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), has been nothing short of impressive during the first 10 races of 2019, with a series high three wins, six top-five finishes, and the first driver since 1990 to score top-10 finishes in each of the first 10 races of a season.
The 2015 Cup Series champion enters Sunday’s Gander RV 400 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway carrying the banner for the PEDIGREE® brand, which operates under the belief that dogs and humans benefit each other and its passion to help dogs in need find a forever home. For Busch, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call victory lanes on the NASCAR tour his forever home as he’s amassed more than 200 overall wins among NASCAR’s top three series.
At Dover’s high-banked, concrete oval affectionately known as the “Monster Mile,” Busch and his PEDIGREE® team have a strong resume with his third career and most recent Cup Series win there coming in October 2017 on a dramatic, late-race pass of Chase Elliott.
In addition to his three career wins at Dover, Busch and his PEDIGREE® team have some impressive stats there to bolster their confidence this weekend. Along with the wins in NASCAR’s top series, Busch has scored five NASCAR Xfinity Series wins and four NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series wins. He’s led 1,209 laps in his previous 28 Cup Series starts there, an average of almost 43.1 per race. Busch has also scored 12 top-five finishes and 16 top-10s at the track.
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. Besides, his winning PEDIGREE® could be just what he needs to make yet another trip to victory lane on the Delmarva Peninsula, along with extending his impressive top-10 streak to start the season.
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 to 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 have won some races there in the past but, in the spring races recently, we’ve had some bad luck get us. 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.”
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 of times, so it’s nice to have a little collection of monster trophies going. Between Bristol and Dover, there are no similarities between the racetracks. It’s so hard – you’d think with Charlotte, Atlanta and Texas looking the same from up above, they’re nothing close. Bristol and Dover being concrete, they’re both fast around the bottom of the racetrack. 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 comment on just how bumpy it was this last time at Bristol and how the cars and the tires were really bouncing on the racetrack. You get that at Dover, for sure. I think Dover is maybe worse or feels worse because the amount of speed you’re carrying there makes 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 rollercoaster 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 Gander RV 400 will mark Kyle Busch’s 509th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 29th NASCAR Cup Series start at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
- Busch has career totals of 54 wins, 31 poles, 189 top-five finishes, 279 top-10s and 16,454 laps led in 508 career Cup Series races. His most recent Cup Series win came three races ago at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Busch’s most recent pole, the 30th of his career, came in October at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
- Busch has three wins, 12 top-five finishes and 17 top-10s and has led a total of 1,209 laps in 28 career Cup Series starts at Dover. Busch’s average Dover finish is 14.8.
- 54 Career Cup Series Wins: With his Cup Series win at Bristol three races ago, the 54th points-paying win of his career, Busch sits tied for 10th all-time in Cup Series wins with NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty. With his 40th Cup Series victory at Bristol 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.