As a winner of 37 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, which are included in his 139 top-five finishes and 204 top-10s, as well as the leader of 11,661 laps in 407 career starts, it’s safe to say 31-year-old Kyle Busch has earned his stripes in his 12th full season competing in NASCAR’s top circuit.
So it’s only fitting the driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) will don a unique green-and-white-striped livery for Saturday night’s traditional midsummer Coke Zero 400 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Not only has Busch notched three wins thus far this season, he has solidly cemented himself as the one of the premiere drivers of the sport as his improbable comeback in 2015 yielded his first Sprint Cup championship.
Interstate Batteries’ colors are already in the win column in 2016 via Busch’s victory in April at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, right in the backyard of Interstate Batteries’ corporate offices as the company and JGR celebrate their 25th year together in NASCAR. Busch and the No. 18 team look to add another victory Saturday night at Daytona, where they head with a little momentum on their side as they come off a strong seventh-place finish at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. It’s been a much-needed step in the right direction as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship playoffs get closer by the week.
Busch is certainly no stranger to victory lane in the Coke Zero 400, having won the July 2008 race behind the wheel of – yes – the Interstate Batteries Toyota. The Las Vegas native has fared much better in his summer races at Daytona during his career as the track is much more slick thanks to Florida’s July heat. He has four top-five finishes in his nine July starts at Daytona.
With all of that on his side, Busch hopes sporting the unique color scheme helps his cause in this restrictor-plate style of racing, where a driver not only has to be good, but must have good fortune to go along with it. He would like nothing more than to start July in the best way possible – by bringing the Interstate Batteries green-and-white-striped paint scheme to victory lane Saturday night. Even though Busch has earned his stripes already, it doesn’t mean he isn’t as hungry as ever for another victory.