One year ago this weekend, the track known as the “Magic Mile” certainly lived up to its billing for Kyle Busch and his Interstate Batteries team.
Busch, driver of the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), used hard work and a little bit of luck last July at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon to bring home what would be the second of three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins in a row during a summer hot streak that would ultimately springboard him to the 2015 Sprint Cup championship.
After winning the previous week at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Busch, crew chief Adam Stevens and the entire Interstate Batteries team were shining examples of Interstate’s slogan of “Outrageously Dependable” at New Hampshire after what looked like their race was going to be ruined by an unscheduled pit stop on lap 244, which dropped them to 20th after running in the top-three all race long. But just as quickly as misfortune struck, good luck followed. Busch hustled to get by leaders Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick and, just as he did that, the caution flag flew. While the rest of the leaders needed to pit for fuel, Busch had already made his final trip to pit road. He was able to hold the lead for the final stretch of the race, bringing home another victory that he would add to the following week by winning the prestigious Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Last year’s New Hampshire victory added to Busch’s first Sprint Cup win at the 1.058-mile oval, which came in just his third start there in July 2006. And, the victory came in dominating fashion as he led 107 laps. After that 2006 win, the Las Vegas native left with plenty of confidence that he could get multiple wins at the “Magic Mile” as his career progressed. As it turned out, he had come agonizingly close over the 17 races he competed there before his next win last year.
The driver of the Interstate Batteries Toyota posted five top-five finishes in those 17 starts between New Hampshire wins, including three runner-up finishes in a row in 2013 and 2014. In all, Busch has eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 22 starts at the track.
Outside the Sprint Cup ranks, Busch has four wins, one pole and seven top-five results in 10 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Loudon to go with three wins, one pole and six top-10s in eight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races there.
So, as NASCAR’s top series heads to the Northeast for Sunday’s New Hampshire 301, Busch will look to rekindle his summer hot streak from one year ago. There will be plenty of Interstate Batteries distributors and dealers across New England cheering him on as Interstate Batteries and JGR continue their 25th year together.