Always looking for more, the driver of the No. 18 Skittles® Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is determined to add a place not currently on his Sprint Cup win list – Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the site of Sunday’s Brickyard 400.
There are certainly reasons for optimism this year for Busch as he and the Skittles team are riding quite the hot streak. Busch has captured wins in three of the last four Sprint Cup events. The wins have come at three completely different styles of tracks, starting with the road course at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway June 28, then at the 1.5-mile, moderately banked Kentucky Speedway tri-oval in Sparta July 12, and finally last Sunday at the 1.058-mile, relatively flat oval New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
With the three wins, Busch and the Skittles team have been making huge progress on their march to make the top-30 in Sprint Cup driver standings, which would ensure them a berth in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup playoffs. With seven races before the 16-driver Chase grid is locked in, Busch now sits just 58 points behind 30th-place David Gilliland. Busch has shaved an astounding 115 points off the deficit during the past four races, the only non-win being a 17th-place result at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. After finishing second at Indianapolis two of the last three years, along with seven top-10 finishes in 10 total starts at the historic 2.5-mile, four-cornered oval, Busch and team have plenty of confidence they’ll continue to close the gap on the all-important 30th spot in the driver standings.
Sunday’s race at Indianapolis also marks the return of the popular, red Skittles paint scheme for the No. 18 Toyota. Along with Busch’s hopes of kissing the famed Yard of Bricks following Sunday’s race – a tradition for the winning driver and his team at the century-old speedway – fans will also be able to “Taste the Rainbow” one more time this season as the Skittles car will be on track at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway next month. Busch, who counts Green Apple Skittles among his personal favorite, has already competed in the red Skittles scheme at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Dover (Del.) International Speedway this past spring.
So, earning the right to kiss Indy’s famed “Yard of Bricks” come Sunday afternoon would shoot straight to the top of Busch’s ever-growing list of accomplishments as he hopes to “Taste the Bricks” with a little help from the “Rainbow.”