Just days before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup kicks off for the first of 10 races, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch spent the day at Dover Air Force Base Wednesday, participating in a 9/11 memorial dedication and visiting with airmen, amongst other things.
Alongside his wife Samantha, Busch joined Delaware Governor Jack Markell, other elected officials, first responders, airmen and others at the Base as the Eagle Firefighters Association dedicated a 9/11 memorial that was constructed from two beams from the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center, a rock from the crash site of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa., and a brick block from the Pentagon crash site.
“It’s certainly an emotional experience any time you’re able to be a part of these memorials,” Busch said. “It’s certainly impactful, attending the memorial events on 9/11, the tributes; it was a pretty neat experience.”
The dedication ceremony was just one part of a busy morning for Busch, who was in Dover as part of NASCAR’s Chase Across America program, as he also visited the USO Delaware Center and met with Director Joan Cote to learn about the functions of the USO and what Delaware’s chapter does for airmen.
While there, a representative from Nestle Toll House Morsels presented Cote and the USO with a donation of 1,500 tickets to the Sunday, Sept. 29 “AAA 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
For the remainder of the day, Busch met with military members at the Aerial Port Squadron and visited airmen at a C-5 M, the military’s largest aircraft, on the Dover Air Force Base flight line, talking with them about the Chase, his approach to driving and even getting a tour of the plane.
Busch said that getting to spend the anniversary of 9/11 at the Dover Air Force Base, with first responders and military, only amplified his appreciation for the work those men and women do to keep our country safe on a daily basis.
“I’m not privileged to these [experiences] sometimes, but we obviously never forget it here in this country, never forget the many men and women that sacrificed their lives, and the ones that still do today to allow us to live with freedom,” he said.
This weekend, Busch will turn his attention back to his full-time job, where he’ll be set to go on a 10-week journey that he hopes will end with his No. 18 Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion circle for the first time.
Though he has struggled in the Chase in the past, he said the momentum his team picked up at the end of the summer have him feeling good about his chances this year.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be considered a contender,” Busch said. “I feel like we’ve run pretty well this year…I feel like we’re definitely contenders or we wouldn’t be in this position.”
The Chase will run through Dover International Speedway for the Sept. 29 “AAA 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the third event in the 10-race playoff, and one that Busch said he is particularly excited about.
“I’m looking forward to coming to Dover, one of the Chase tracks and one of my best tracks,” he said. “Hopefully we can run well up front and knock out a win.”
That said, Busch didn’t underestimate the challenges the Monster Mile will pose when he and the rest of the Chase field arrive in three weeks.
“Dover is a really tough race track,” he said. “It’s got a lot of banking and it’s really narrow, so when you do get out of shape and you hit one wall, you’re probably going to hit two.”
Dover Motorsports PR