In the spring of 1950, John Searcy began selling and delivering car batteries to wholesalers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area from the back of his red pickup truck. After two years, Searcy founded his new company and named it Interstate Battery System. He based his business on the principles of offering the best-quality product, providing impeccable service, and treating the customer with respect.
When he retired in 1978, Searcy left the company in the hands of current owner and Chairman Norm Miller. In the following years, Interstate Batteries transcended from regional powerhouse to a household name in automotive batteries. Under the guidance of Miller, Interstate Batteries distributorships served auto repair shops in every American state.
From a marketing standpoint, the natural progression of its business led the company to what would become the perfect fit for promoting the automotive battery brand – NASCAR racing. It all started in 1991, when then-Washington Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs ended up in the Dallas office of Interstate Batteries Chairman Miller.
Gibbs was there to make his pitch to have Miller’s company sponsor the three-time Super Bowl-winning head coach’s first foray into what is now called the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The only problem was that Gibbs had no race shop, no employees, not even a driver to drive his cars. What he was selling to Miller that day was nothing more than a dream.
During his entire business career, Miller has never been shy about taking chances. And while Interstate Batteries had sponsored a few races with a little-known team with Stanley Smith as the driver, Miller and Interstate Batteries agreed to sponsor Gibbs’ team, and the rest, as they say, is history. Now, more than a quarter of a century later, an organization that started from humble beginnings before the commitment of Interstate Batteries has now become one of the premiere teams in all of NASCAR.
Not only did Gibbs gain a lifetime sponsor in Miller and Interstate Batteries, he gained a lifetime friendship, as well. It’s become a relationship that cannot be overemphasized when discussing Joe Gibbs Racing’s (JGR) evolution and longevity.
So as the NASCAR Cup Series heads to its semi-annual stop at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, there could be no better way than to continue the 65th anniversary celebration for Dallas-Based Interstate Batteries right down the road from its company headquarters.
Kyle Busch, the 2015 Cup Series champion, first drove the No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota for JGR to victory lane at Texas back in April 2013, giving the brand its first win at its home track. The win ended a streak of 19 Cup Series races in which Interstate had competed at Texas without a coveted victory. Busch followed it up with a win in last year’s Texas Cup Series race in April.
However, a new challenge awaits the Las Vegas native and the Interstate Batteries team. Texas has undergone a repaving project this spring as a fresh coat of asphalt wipes the slate clean for crew chief Adam Stevens and the entire team, who will be starting from scratch thanks to the new surface and a reconfigured turns one and two.
On top of his two Cup Series wins there, Busch is no stranger to victory lane at Texas in other NASCAR series, as well. He reeled off an incredible string of five consecutive Xfinity Series wins there from April 2008 to April 2010, adding two more wins in April 2013, November 2014, and April 2016. Add his three Camping World Truck Series wins in November 2009, 2010, and 2014 and he enters the upcoming Texas race weekend with a total of 13 NASCAR national series wins at the 1.5-mile oval.
So while the challenge of the repave and reconfiguration will test Busch and his entire team, it’s safe to say they would like nothing more than to bring home another win for hometown sponsor Interstate Batteries in the Lone Star State as the company celebrates 65 years of providing great batteries across the United States and around the world.